Walmart announced yesterday that it will be putting an even bigger effort into beefing up their fleet of service robots.
Currently, Walmart is pairing up with San Francisco Bossa Nova Robotics, Inc to put self-scanning inventory robots in their story. Though now these robots are only in 350 locations, they plan to bring this number up to 1,000 by this summer, which is 1/5 of Walmart’s total locations. This plan started at just 50 robots back in 2017.
These robots, at 6 feet tall and armed with 15 cameras, roam the aisles, scan shelves to look for missing items, and report their findings back to the central computer and employees in real-time.
The robots are armless, meaning they can’t replace the task of physically replacing the items on the shelves, but they do help in the monitoring process. John Crecelius, Sr. VP of Central Operations for Walmart, says that these robots help to free up employees’ time from “tasks that are repeatable, predictable, and manual,” allowing them to focus on the more human, impactful parts of the experience for customers.
Lately, Walmart is funneling a lot of their time, effort, and resources into automation. In addition to their Alphabots, currently in one store with plans to expand to a couple more soon, which pack and sort online grocery order 10X faster than humans, they also launched IRL, which is their AI-powered, experiential store. We wrote about it here if you want to learn more about this simple, yet futuristic store.
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Hannah Michelle Lambert is the Social Media + Events Coordinator at Worthix, as well as the host of the monthly CX News Recap segment. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan.