Walmart is testing shelf-scanning robots in 50 stores
As retailers are increasingly relying on automated services and robotic technology, Walmart has revealed that it is currently testing shelf-scanning robots in 50 locations.
The machines from Bossa Nova Robotics will check inventory levels, pricing and look for misplaced items, according to Walmart.
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Whilst there will be technicians on-site in case of difficulties, the robots are fully autonomous and, thanks to £D imaging, that can dodge around obstacles.
The move comes as part of the company’s wider strategy to innovate over the next few years.
Beyond these shelf-scanning robots, the company is also researching voice technology to make it easier for consumers to chat with the robot and purchase the things they need.
Walmart has stressed that the robots are meant to aid human workers rather than replacing them, noting that checking shelves is tedious work that is prone to human error.
The robots will do the rote work, say the company, whilst the human employees focus on the more personable matter of customer service.
In a promotional video for the robots a natator notes: “We’re using technology to focus on tasks that are repeatable, predictable and manual, freeing up associates to spend more time doing what they do best: serving you.”
Retailers are increasingly relying on automated services in their back rooms, distribution centres and supply chain, however, Walmart is keen to stress that the human element remains very important to them.
Walmart has already begun using technology to automate processes such as grocery pickups, however, whether or not the shelf-scanning robots will be used across all its stores, will hinge on the success of the trial.