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The CEO of Boston Dynamics says more warehouse operators are considering a robot workforce after COVID-19 exposed health vulnerabilities at logistics hubs. His comments come as Amazon (AMZN) warns it could run out of workers by 2024. “They have almost 100 per cent turn-over in logistics jobs like picking and packing boxes,” Robert Playter told Yahoo Finance Canada at the Collision tech conference in Toronto. “We’ve definitely seen [with] our industrial or warehouse customers [that] interest in robotics has only increased during the pandemic.” Boston Dynamics has shown its “Stretch” robot is smart enough to react to a stack of boxes suddenly falling over, and clean up the mess. The company plans to release a new robot every three-to-five years aimed at mastering a new workplace task. But Playter says the key is Boston Dynamics looks for the sweet spot between what the labour market needs, and what its robots are capable of doing. “The next robot, which we hope will come out in a few years, will probably be pushing in the direction of more dexterous manipulation tasks, perhaps in a manufacturing environment,” he said. Late last year, the Hyundai Motor Company (HYMTF) acquired an 80 per cent stake. Playter says the new majority owner will help commercialize its robots with its expertise in large-scale manufacturing. “They're going to help us create these things more efficiently, and lower the cost,'' he said. “By the end of this year, we'll have about 1,000 robots out with customers. So we're seeing strong interest.” Asked if robots will push human labour out of warehouses, he said, “I think a lot of the manual work will be done by robots. But robots aren't as smart as people yet, and you have to deal with unexpected circumstances.” Playter says he envisions an “up-skilling path” for workers to become robot operators. “The robot, its intelligence, handles a lot of the complexities. You just give it very high-level commands about what to do, sort of point it in a direction, or lay down a route. And it will autonomously do that work on its own,” he said. “It won’t take a college degree to operate them.” Jeff Lagerquist is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitter @jefflagerquist. Download the Yahoo Finance app, available for Apple and Android.