The Walmart Robots are Coming – Info Gadgets
Walmart is piloting robots that will be a significant portion of their work-force at an alarming rate.
When you think of automation and its approach you really have to understand that this isn’t just manufacturing. It’s transportation, retail, finance, fast food, customer service and eventually even the likes of banking, healthcare and construction, among others.
Let’s just take retail for now. Walmart is the biggest retailer in the world and also is symbolic since it’s the biggest employer in the United States. Walmart to date is looking seriously into robots to scan shelves, clean floors, pick grocery orders for delivery and actually deliver the orders.
In early August, 2018, it was announced Walmart will launch a grocery-picking robot to fulfill customers’ online orders. This is just the latest way Walmart will automate part of its logistics and E-commerce business. It’s called Alphabot, according to a recent Walmart blog post.
WHAT THE ROBOT?
Walmart is partnering with Alert Innovation to deploy Alphabot, a system designed for Walmart, in its Salem, New Hampshire superstore. The automated technology will be installed in a 20,000-square foot extension connected to the store, which will also serve as the dedicated grocery pick-up point with drive-thru lanes for customers.
Keep in mind here Bossa Nova robots already can scan grocery shelves 3 times faster than humans. Walmart is using them in dozens of its stores. This past spring it was announced that Walmart has something called ‘Eden’, an artificial intelligence technology to inspect fresh food for spoilage. Don’t even get me started about the “cleaning” robots. Don’t tell me that’s not somebody’s job.
Eden is already online too btw, the ‘Eden’ AI technology will revolutionize food waste reduction, and estimated company savings of over $2 billion in the next five years as a result.
Americans seem pretty oblivious that Walmart robots are having a field day in waiting; with a lot of small pilots happening that will eventually replace a lot of humans. There’s no real way around this; these are tasks the robots perform better than a human could.
The shelf-scanning robots are already in 50 stores. With self-driving autonomous vehicles just around the corner, we know companies like Alibaba, Amazon, Walmart and Meituan will be doing delivery in the near future, totally with robots. Others like JD.com are investing hugely in drone delivery.
Many of these robot systems will at first be human-robot hybrid systems. For instance, Alphabot helps with this by automatically bringing items from storage to Walmart’s store staff, who then assemble customers’ orders. Grocery delivery is going to be a big deal, so Walmart needs to have this as automated as possible to meet the demands of the next few years, according to TechCrunch.
Robots in the workforce are not a good or bad thing, but they are coming. Just as AI is streamlining how companies work and even their core business models, robots will become a lot more common in big companies, at first accomplishing many niche tasks. Walmart is showing itself to be a pioneer in investing in AI and robotics to improve its functioning.
Alert Innovation is a Massachusetts-based retail automation company. In 2019, we’ll just be at the start of the next wave of automation and even Amazon will roll out a home robot product of some kind.
What Walmart and Amazon are demonstrating is that our smart cities will begin to transform with 5G, IoT, robotics and autonomous vehicles. It’s hard to even fathom the full impact this will have on the workforce, skill shortages and the demand for new kinds of jobs.
Walmart knows that grocery orders will capture 20 percent of the $641 billion U.S. grocery market by 2025.
Making the grocery picking process more efficient means customers could place orders online which would then be ready by the time they arrived, in some cases. This is classical BOPIS that is, buy online pick up in store. In a world where speed, convenience and price is everything — automation really is the only way to go.
Article Prepared by Ollala Corp