Walmart is bringing robots to 650 more stores as the retailer ramps up automation in stores nationwide
Walmart is adding more robots to its stores, a spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider. The shelf-stocking Bossa Nova robots will be expanding to 650 more stores, bringing to total number of stores to 1,000 with this technology. Walmart recently unveiled a grocery-packing robot to help speed up online delivery fulfillment. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Sign up for Business Insider's retail newsletter, The Drive-Thru.
Walmart is moving forward with automation in more stores nationwide. The superstore is adding shelf-stocking robots to 650 stores by the summer, the retailer confirmed to Business Insider. The robots are designed by the San Francisco-based Bossa Nova Robotics Inc. and made to scan items on shelves to assist with price accuracy and restocking. The robots are already present in 350 stores. The six-foot-tall devices contain 15 cameras each, which scan aisles and shelves and send alerts to employees in real time. "Our associates immediately understood the opportunity for the new technology to free them up from focusing on tasks that are repeatable, predictable, and manual," John Crecelius, senior vice president of central operations for Walmart US, said in a company blog post about automation in April. "It allows them time to focus more on selling merchandise and serving customers, which they tell us have always been the most exciting parts of working in retail." This robot expansion is the latest move in a series of automation experiments for the superstore. Walmart has introduced robots for cleaning floors, unloading and sorting items from trucks, and for picking up orders in stores. The superstore also recently unveiled Alphabot, a packing and sorting robot meant to speed up the fulfillment process for online grocery delivery. The system currently resides in a 20,000 square-foot facility alongside a Walmart store in Salem, New Hampshire. Walmart plans to bring the system to stores in Mustang, Oklahoma and Burbank, California this year. The robots in the Alphabot system are able to pick and pack online grocery orders up to 10 times faster than humans.SEE ALSO: Apply here to attend IGNITION: Retail, an event focused on the future of retail, in New York City on January 14. SEE ALSO: Inside Walmart's store of the future, where robots can fill grocery orders up to 10 times faster than humans Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: 9 items to avoid buying at Costco
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Robots are increasingly taking over retail spaces and restaurants. Their role has become especially vital during...Robots are increasingly taking over retail spaces and restaurants. Their role has become especially vital during the pandemic as businesses look for new ways to enforce social distancing and no-contact service. We rounded up 20 retail and restaurant robots. It's up to you to decide: are they cute, creepy, or both? Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. The robots were created by man. So far, they haven't evolved, rebelled, or formed a plan to kill all humans, but they're definitely more present than ever in daily life. In the last few years, robots have entered our public spaces in a way only previously imagined in science-fiction books, movies, and TV. They've leapt from popular imagination into the aisles of warehouses and grocery stores, into restaurant kitchens and dining rooms. Not only do robots play an important health and safety role during the pandemic — often testing for coronavirus and doing temperature scans — they're more necessary than ever before to allow businesses to reopen in a safe and socially distanced way. Take a look at some of the Most Valuable Droids of retail below and decide for yourself: cute or creepy? Or both?SEE ALSO: KFC will test lab-grown chicken nuggets made with a 3D bioprinter this fall in Russia DON'T MISS: Redefine Meat's CEO reveals the tech creating its 3D-printed "alt-steak" that raised $6m in a seed round from the investors behind Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat A restaurant in Hangzhou, China has a robot chef that looks like Ultraman, a Japanese anime character. This chef robot slices noodles in the kitchen. Source: Getty Flippy, a robot chef arm made by Miso Robotics, is used in stadiums and select restaurants. This fall, White Castle will start testing Flippy in one of its restaurants. Read more: Meet Flippy, White Castle's new robot chef that can fry food and flip burgers In Japan's Huis Ten Bosch amusement park, a robot named "Andrew" makes okonomiyaki at Hen-na Restaurant. Source: World Economic Forum As part of KFC's "fast food of the future" initiative in Russia, the chicken chain is testing a fully-automated fried chicken preparation system. Source: The Takeout Starship Technologies' tiny sidecar-on-wheels robots have been tested widely as a convenient (and now contactless) food and grocery last-mile delivery method. Starship robots have been tested by Postmates and Doordash. Read more: Investors are betting $85 million that hungry students will normalize these robot food delivery workers of the future Softbank's humanoid Pepper robot is being used around the world. In Germany, chain grocer Edeka introduced Pepper robots in its stores to help people social distance and stay safe during the pandemic. Source: Retail Tech Innovation Hub Walmart has staffed 1,000 of its stores with Bossa Nova robots, which stock shelves and help keep track of inventory. The six-foot robots contain 15 cameras that can scan aisles. Read more: Walmart is bringing robots to 650 more stores as the retailer ramps up automation in stores nationwide In Moscow, Russia, some Lenta supermarkets are staffed with Promobot robots, which roll around the stores and announce discounts and promotions. They also recognize regular customers and can do product demonstrations. Source: Grocery Dive In 2019, regional supermarket chain Giant Eagle started testing Tally robots at its stores. Tally robots, which are made by Simbe Robotics, scan shelves to keep track of stock. Source: Supermarket News Hundreds of Stop and Shop and Giant Foods stores are home to the googly-eyed robot Marty, who has become a customer favorite. Marty also played a key role in a murder suspect's alibi in January. Read more: A high-profile murder case hinges on an alibi involving a googly-eyed grocery-store robot named Marty There are many restaurants around the world that utilize waiter robots, including this one in Qingdao, China. "Tete" delivers food to guests and can speak over 200 words. Source: Getty This Chinese server robot made by Kewang Trade Corporation plunges deep into uncanny valley territory with its human-like visage. It can also carry more than 35 kilograms (just over 77 pounds). Source: Getty A robot waiter at a restaurant in Wuhan, China has expressive eyes on an LED screen. Source: Getty Chinese hotpot chain Haidilao employs non-humanoid robot servers that make facial expressions and speak to guests. Read more: A massively popular Chinese restaurant chain is trying to take over the world with snarky robots, free snacks and hand massages, and a noodle dancer. Here's why I loved it. "Robot" restaurant in Chennai employs seven female-esque robot waiters. The robots glide around on magnetic strips to serve customers their food. Source: Scroll.in Meet Ruby the robot waitress, who serves customers at Drink and Spice Magics restaurant in Dubai. Source: The National UAE In Naulo restaurant in Kathmandu, Nepal's first robot waiter, Ginger, speaks both English and Nepali, and was built by 25 Nepali engineers. Source: Dunya News The Gran Caffé Rapallo in Liguria was the first restaurant in Italy to employ robots as waiters. Source: Getty In Kabul, Afghanistan, a Japanese robot named Timea that serves patrons of Times Fast Food has earned the nickname "Nazo," or "beautiful" in the Dari language. Source: The National The Pepper Parlor in Tokyo, Japan is staffed by Softbank's Pepper and NAO robots. Pepper robots, which are used around the world, serve patrons while NAO robots dance and entertain them.