While Amazon’s ambitious Go grocery store eliminates the need for cashier and check out, American retail supermarket Walmart wants to eliminate using humans to check on shelves for stock levels, pricing and even misplaced items. Shelf-scanning robots aren’t new, apparently. Damn, we must have living under the rock. Eh? Anywho, Walmart is the first to put it through large scale real world test with this Bossa Nova Robotics’ robots roaming around the company’s 50 stores. The sole purposed of these specialist robots is to ply the aisles and do what used to be done by humans, i.e. monitoring the stock on shelves, checking the pricing, or detect if there are items being displayed in the wrong category. In other words, they are here just to check.
Humans are still required to do the actual restock products, change the prices, and also to put misplaced items back to their rightful places. So, they are not here to replace humans entirely. Just part of the human resource sucking bit. Using sophisticated 3D imaging technology, the robots are able to execute the aforementioned tasks while avoiding obstacles and they are clever enough to make note to return to sections which were completely inaccessible at the point of their patrol. So, yeah. Your summer jobs are still safe… for now. For how long? Well, perhaps until robots can a grip of handling items of variety of seizes and fragility. Until then, like I have said, your jobs are safe. OK, maybe there will a teeny weeny bit less jobs per store or maybe just less overtime.
Of course, Walmart won’t be telling you that. They will be saying this will free up the staff to “do what they do best: serving you.” Imagine combining this with Amazon Go’s concept, thrown in a few robot security, and you’d have a future supermarket without human staffers. Yikes. That sounds kind of scary, isn’t it? But also, it is kind of inevitable as the economic landscape changes. You know cost and all that, plus the ridiculous demands blue-collar workers have that threatens to consume the top brass’ remuneration package. Pfff. Head past the jump for video all about this job-snatching robotic development happening at Walmart.