|Walmart is now announcing its technological expansion by the use of robotics in their stores / Photo by: Mike Mozart via Flickr|
As it partners with Pittsburgh startup Bossa Nova Robotics, Walmart has announced that its push for in-store technological expansion is a go, TechCrunch reveals in a report on how the plans are getting underway.
As writer Brian Heater revealed, Walmart has been proactively working on in-store technology, and it’s got mostly to do with the fact that as Amazon only gets bigger, the competition in retail stores is only getting tougher. To try and catch up with Amazon’s footsteps, Walmart has even set up an out-of-the-way headquarters home to a massive warehouse almost solely dedicated to the goal of improving customer experience via robotics.
Although it’s not aiming for a really big change in its stores, what Walmart intends to roll out instead are “shelf-scanning robots.” This was back in 2017, when they announced that this rollout will come in 50 of the company’s stores.
However, in that area, there has been no other report, even now, two years later. Instead, Walmart has taken to trying out the products more thoroughly in their Steel City warehouse, where the interiors are designed to look like store aisles so as to train these shelf-scanning robots.
Before shelf-scanning robots, though, Bossa Nova has already been in the game, trying and failing with two robotic assistants in supermarkets: the perpetually pregnant, interactive robot penguin “Penbo,” and “Prime 8,” a “programmable gorilla that runs on his two prominent forearms.”
Both of these did not take off as much as Bossa Nova would have hoped, and a big part of this is because it is damn near impossible to “predict the fickle whims of tech-crazy kids.”
The technology that will power the shelf-scanning robots will be a step in the right direction, and the next technological advance to come to stores in a long time when only self-checkout lanes and barcodes were the only innovations.
With these, Walmart will be helped in matters of retail repetitive tasks, which the company aims to turn over to the robots.