Once just a test, Walmart’s fleet of shelf-scanning robots has now expanded to 50 stores around the US. An eye-catching sight for customers, these robots look to help Walmart become more productive and efficient in routine work.
Built by Bassa Nova Robotics, shelf-scanning robots will be deployed in 50 Walmart locations. Roaming up and down the aisles at 2 mph, these robots scan for out-of-stock or missing items, incorrect prices, or abandoned products.
Speaking to Business Insider, Walmart said that these robots will improve both in-store and online experience for customers by tracking stock more accurately. For those threatened by automation and fear for their jobs, Walmart’s VP of Innovation John Crecelius had a few reassuring words:
“People are just drawn to technology and what it does. Our associates naturally get drawn to: ‘What is this going to provide, how can I use this in what I’m doing?’ That’s usually a good sign. It usually happens when they feel like something is helping them or making a meaningful difference.”
Right now, the Walmart robots are being deployed to scan shelves three times a day and don’t pose a real threat to hired employees. However, if these robots start to replace customer service associates, the company might encounter some resistance in the Bay Area as local officials are pushing for a robot tax.