Walmart has a new robot that is helping do the hard work typically reserved for store employees. This robot is shaped something like a carpet cleaner with a tall tower on it, but it is designed to roll around shelves while scanning the items they contain. The robot is only being tested in a small number of Walmart stores for now, but it could become a permanent fixture for the company.
In most cases, tracking inventory and finding items requires store employees to manually scan the shelves, counting items and taking note of what may be missing or misplaced. The new robot Walmart is testing, though, does all of this automatically. According to the company, the robot is able to automate repeatable tasks, including finding what is out of stock, missing labels, and incorrect prices.
The robot was initially being tested at some stores in California, Arkansas, and Pennsylvania. Those tests were successful enough that Walmart is rolling the robot out into another 50 stores throughout the US, though the specific locations weren’t provided. The company is gathering feedback about the robots from customers as well as employees.
Vision technology and data are used to equip the robots with their abilities, though Walmart doesn’t go into many details about the technology. It isn’t clear which company has produced the robots, nor whether these robots are being used throughout the day or only later at night when customers are less likely to be around them.