Analysis and observations from the first Amazon picking challenge

Nikolaus Correll, Kostas E. Bekris, Dmitry Berenson, Oliver Brock, Albert Causo, Kris Hauser, Kei Okada, Alberto Rodriguez, Joseph M. Romano, Peter R. Wurman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents an overview of the inaugural Amazon Picking Challenge along with a summary of a survey conducted among the 26 participating teams. The challenge goal was to design an autonomous robot to pick items from a warehouse shelf. This task is currently performed by human workers, and there is hope that robots can someday help increase efficiency and throughput while lowering cost. We report on a 28-question survey posed to the teams to learn about each team's background, mechanism design, perception apparatus, planning, and control approach. We identify trends in this data, correlate it with each team's success in the competition, and discuss observations and lessons learned based on survey results and the authors' personal experiences during the challenge. volume picking applications. This survey summarizes lessons learned from the first Amazon Picking Challenge, highlighting mechanism design, perception, and motion planning algorithms, as well as software engineering practices that were most successful in solving a simplified order fulfillment task. While the choice of mechanism mostly affects execution speed, the competition demonstrated the systems challenges of robotics and illustrated the importance of combining reactive control with deliberative planning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number527
Pages (from-to)172-188
Number of pages17
JournalIEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Manipulators
  • Robot vision systems
  • Robotics
  • Service robots
  • Storage automation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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