Walmart drop robot plans

Auto-S scanning robot. Photo: Walmart press photo
Walmart has tested scanning robots like the Auto-S in the picture in several hundred stores, but are now moving away from this strategy, according to reports. Photo: Walmart Inc. press photo
By Reidar Molthe

12 November 2020 12:08

Walmart drop robot plans

Walmart has dropped plans to use roving robots to scan shelves and keep track of inventory, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

One can be led to believe that it is all about robotization and digitization these days. But no, the giant Walmart (the world's largest retailer by far) is now saying that they will no longer focus on robots among the grocery shelves.

The move brings an end to years of innovation for the retailer as it looked to use robots to assist shop staff in tasks such as keeping shelves well-stocked.

Walmart report it ends its five-year partnership with Bossa Nova Robotics Inc, which had been established to help improve the customer experience using robot.

In January 2020, Walmart announced it would bring the tech start-up’s inventory scanning robots into an additional 650 locations. People familiar with the situation cited by the Wall Street Journal said the retailer ended the partnership because it had found different and sometimes simpler solutions that proved just as useful in helping with inventory.

The sources added that due to lockdowns caused by coronavirus, Walmart has more workers walking its supermarket aisles to collect online orders, who could now help the retailer monitor product amounts and locations – better and more efficient then robots.

“This was one idea we tried in roughly 500 stores just as we are trying other ideas in additional stores,” Walmart says in a press release.

The world’s largest retailer said it would continue to test new technologies, as well as investing in its own processes and apps to track inventory and help get products on to shelves as quickly as possible.

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