11 January 2023

Robot Names: Yeah, They’re A Thing

There’s a wide-spread misconception about introducing robotics to otherwise manual processes. The thought is that operators won’t like their robot workmates. They’ll resist operational responsibilities, and they’ll be concerned that their robot counterparts will outperform them, so far as rendering them expendable. 

Thus far, our experiences have shown us the opposite. What actually transpires is that people learn that robots are great to work with. Not only are robots dependable and well-behaved, there’s a feeling of empowerment that comes with operating these newfound automated work partners.

To see the human-robot bond, look no further than the naming and nicknaming of the robots showing up in the workplace. Here’s a look at the robot names we’ve encountered at various 3PLs, DCs and fulfillment centers.

  • Brutus – perhaps this name was chosen because it evokes a sense of strength and durability – something our customers are certainly seeking. 
  • Roadrunners – operators at one company refer to their AMRs (autonomous mobile robots) as Roadrunner, apparently named after the cartoon. “beep beep”
  • Dorothy – a carton labeling machine that evidently reminds its operators of the 1996 movie Twister – here’s a link to the popular reference. 
  • Carl – another Dorabot customer seemed intent on naming their new palletizer “Carl” – though the only reasoning shared was, “it looks like a Carl.”
  • Wilt – it makes sense that Dorabot’s Sort to Gaylord solution may conjure the basketball great who once scored 100 points in a single game. “The robot is tall and hits every shot.”
  • Ronaldo – apparently, another sorter seems to be named after an elite athlete, this one an international footballer, known for his accuracy.
  • Cliffy well, this one makes a lot of sense to those of us of a certain age, that the DoraSorter Sort to Bag (postal bag) is named for a beloved character from the popular 80’s sitcom, Cheers.
  • Marley– we can only imagine that this one particular robotic system was nicknamed “Marley” in tribute to the legendary Jamaican singer, Bob Marley – though is is unconfirmed – while some say it’s reference to a particular Rom-Com

For roboticists who endeavor for their robots to fit in and become a beloved member of the team, there’s no greater honor than to simply be named.