Tally robot autonomously takes stock of store shelves

If you turn up to your local supermarket one day to find all of your favourite items fully stocked, you may have the slender robot sauntering up and down the aisles to thank. Announced today, Tally is an autonomous retail robot that rolls around stores making sure shelves are correctly stocked, promising to cut labor costs and lost revenue in the process.

Tally features a sensor array that scans and captures shelf data as it moves through the store on the lookout for out-of-stock, low-stock, misplaced items, incorrectly oriented items and pricing errors. It can't rectify any problems on its own, but sends data to the cloud for processing and then presents recommendations to retailers through an app on how to better meet customer demands.

Makers of Tally, Simbe Robotics, which came out of stealth today, says that the robot doesn't need special store infrastructure to do its job, and can function safely amongst customers and staff during business hours. It weighs around 30 lb (13.6 kg) and stands around 38 inches (96 cm) tall, though this can be adjusted to suit a retailer's specific needs. It will also autonomously return to its charging dock when running low on power.

For employees to work their way around a store checking merchandise is a labor-intensive task, and it isn't always done with 100 percent accuracy. As is the case in general with robotic solutions, the company hopes that by automating the process it can offer retailers a cheaper, more reliable approach. A pilot program is currently underway in several stores in North America.

You can see Tally in action in the video below.

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