Walmart testing shelf-scanning robot

Posted at 7:46 AM, Mar 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-21 07:46:06-04

MILPITAS, CA (KRON/CNN) – Walmart is testing a new robot to assess store inventories.

The robot developed by Bossa Nova Robotics, a San Francisco-based company, uses self-scanning and artificial intelligence technology.

It is one of Walmart's latest innovations, said Tiffany Wilson, Walmart’s director of communications. 

"What it does is it scans each aisle to look for items that are out of stock, (and) can look for incorrect pricing,” Wilson said. "(The robot will detect) anything that will indicate that an item is in a place that it shouldn't be. And what it's able to do is relay that information back to our associates, so associates get real time data about what parts of the store need the most attention."

One customer came face to face with the Bossa Nova and decided to make another turn.

She was a bit confused.

"Well, I thought it was going to hit me because it kept going my way and wasn't really moving, so I don't know," the woman said.

The Bossa Nova company's Chief Business Officer Martin Hitch said don't worry, the robot won't hit customers.

"The robot is constantly evaluating its environment and it does that with two-dimensional sensors and three-dimensional sensors and this allows it then to make a decision on where to move next," Hitch said.

Wilson said they will continue to test the robot which has been in use for a few months.

Walmart officials said their employees will still have the physical task of stocking the shelves, so does that mean that no one loses their job because of this?

"So it's more about arming our associates so that they're tech enabled, but we're always going to be a store that's people led, " Wilson said.

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