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Walmart using robots to stock shelves

Published: Monday, October 30, 2017 @ 11:56 AM
Updated: Monday, October 30, 2017 @ 12:10 PM
By: Kara Driscoll - Staff Writer

Walmart is now using robots to help stock shelves at 50 stores across the country.

The robots are helping scan and stock items in stores before the busiest shopping season of the year. The robots are about two-feet-tall and are outfitted with cameras that help them scan aisles and identify missing or mislabeled inventory across the stores. The robots also check for mispriced items, and give the information to employees who fix the issues.

The technology will be used in a test cycle at stores in Arkansas, Pennsylvania and California, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Walmart officials say the robots can scan and search for items more efficiently than humans can. “If you are running up and down the aisle and you want to decide if we are out of Cheerios or not, a human doesn’t do that job very well, and they don’t like it,” chief technology officer for Walmart U.S. and e-commerce, Jeremy King told Reuters.

“From our perspective, when you’re doing things like this you’re trying to improve your service to your customers and trying to make things simpler and easier for your associates at the same time,” John Crecelius, Walmart’s vice president of central operations, told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Humans don’t have to be worried about their jobs anytime soon, Walmart officials said. The robots do not have arms, so they can’t pick any products up in the aisles, said Martin Hitch, chief business officer at Bossa Nova Robotics.