We know from our reader polls that many if not most of our readers shop regularly or at least sometimes at Walmart. Many visit there while spending the night in their RV in a store parking lot.
If that’s you, then maybe you have recently spotted a six-foot robot moving around a store, pausing to do something you didn’t understand.
The robots are currently deployed in about 350 Walmart stores and should be in another 650 by summer. The machines move on their own. They use their eyes (cameras) to scan shelves, detect out-of-stock items and check for pricing accuracy. The robots don’t resemble something out of a science fiction movie, as you can see in the photo.
If you should bump into a robot, there is no need to say “sorry”: the robot doesn’t care. . .
Walmart recently announced it’s piloting a new technology called Alphabot that’s designed to enable quicker, more efficient picking of online grocery orders at the store level. The system uses autonomous carts to retrieve ambient, refrigerated and frozen items ordered for online grocery shoppers. After it retrieves the products Alphabot delivers them to an in-store workstation, where a Walmart associate checks, bags and delivers the final order.
No plans have been announced yet about replacing human store greeters with robots. Stay tuned.