Machines already play a part in the shopping experience for many, with self-checkout facilities popping up in supermarkets and department stores all over the world. They now continue their push into retail, with Walmart expanding its trials of robots that roam the aisles for sections in need of attention.
Self-checkouts have been around for years now, but the truth is there a other repetitive tasks that could conceivably be carried out by machines. Way back in 2015, Simbe Robotics took aim at at this with a fully autonomous robot called Tally that rolls around stores using a sensor array to make sure shelves are fully stocked and that items are correctly priced, placed and labelled.
Those are the exact responsibilities of Walmart's robot. The company has tested out the technology at a handful of stores in Arkansas, Pennsylvania and California, and based on the results, it is now rolling it out to a total of 50 stores.
Walmart places a big emphasis on the time the technology will save its employees, freeing them up to do other stuff like serve customers and sell merchandise (and look for other jobs?). It will use the trials to gather feedback from both employees and customers and then make a decision from there on how to use the technology moving forward.
You can check out the promo video below.