Walmart's robot fleet is expanding.
The retailer has been testing the robots in a small number of stores in Arkansas and California. It is now expanding the program and will have robots in 50 stores by the end of January.
The robots scan aisles for out-of-stock items, items put in the wrong place by customers, incorrect prices, and wrong or missing labels. They continuously go up and down the aisles of the store, alerting human employees of errors it sees. That makes employees more efficient at correcting errors and automates a task employees say they don't like [Me Here: IF anyone believes that Walmart cares one iota about what their employeeslike/don't like.....].
Walmart CTO Jeremy King told Reuters that the robots are 50% more efficient than a human doing the same task. They can also scan shelves three times more quickly and are a lot more accurate. Human employees can only scan shelves about twice a week, King said.
The robots are shaped like two-foot-tall towers on wheels and are equipped with cameras that can spot errors.
The robots are just one part of Walmart's plan to make stores more efficient and easier for customers to shop.
Me here: I would like to suggest that any reader of this post offer up a prediction as to the date of the very first hack of the robot's software via some app/whatever on some customer's tech device. Example: one fine day, thanks to the robot's inventory control, 50 tractor trailer trucks show up at some Walmart's all carrying, oh, let's say, only toilet paper AKA bathroom tissue for the finicky. That would of course greatly disrupt the USA supply chain leaving the rest of the USA population, ah--I can't think of a polite way to put it, so I will let your imagination fill it in.
It seems to me possible that robots in stores and their AI will replace terrorists as the average USA citizen's No 1 concern. But don't worry, Amazon has it all figured out as to how Walmart will also go the way of the dinosaur.
Universal credit, coming to a street near you soon.
I like the concept, however, it won't work down here. The machines will be forever "tripping" over obstacles left in the aisle. e.g. abandoned shopping trolleys, (by staff or customers), product displays that seem to intrude on just about every spare inch of walking space, abandoned kids left to fend for themselves whilst mum has a wander, and so on.
Given that supermarket aisles are narrow enough as it is - how long will it be before some frustrated customer leaves one of these things flat on it's back with it's wheels in the air?
It would look better with the addition of a sink plunger or two.
More jobs lost. And without jobs, where does Walmart think their customers will get the money to shop there?