6 Foot Tall Wal-Mart Robots to ‘Supplement’ Human Workers
We've all seen the modernization of retail stores happen right before our eyes. From self-checkout to online ordering, the way we "make the groceries" (Cajun for picking up the groceries, I am told) has changed in good and bad ways. On one hand, it's so easy to pick up the necessities with a few clicks and minimal human interaction - but the more successful it is, the less grocery giants like Wal-Mart and Kroger need people.
The latest autonomous threat to the human workforce is the Bossa Nova Robotics, 6-foot, shelf scanning robot. It wanders the store, scanning in contents of every shelf. The connected "associate" will be able to tell if an item needs to be restocked, needs to be re-ordered, or is simply in the wrong spot. It then relays that information to a central processing unit that directs all of the stores stocking operations. Wal-Mart says the system will allow it to use stocking employees more efficiently by directing them to work in the areas that need the help first. Opponents say that big stores will be able to employ smaller teams of stockers to adequately fill store shelves.
According to the Sacramento Bee, Wal-Mart has already started testing the systems in several stores in California and Arkansas, but if it saves retailers any money at all - expect to see them roaming the aisles of your neighborhood store very soon.