Robot mop: Walmart hiring robots to scrub floors at some stores

Marco Green
December 4, 2018

Keeping Walmart (WMT) clean may get a little easier as the retailer is adding a team of floor scrubbing robots to its stores.

To train the machines, Walmart employees take them on an initial training ride so they can map the route.

The company said it expects to have 360 "Auto-C" robots active in stores by the end of January 2019. Built-in sensors allow it to scan and avoid people and other potential obstacles.

The robots are reported to resemble a miniature Zamboni combined with a motorized wheelchair, similar to the machines used at airports in Seattle, Washington; Boston, Massachusetts; and Miami, Florida, according to Bloomberg.

Brain Corp's BrainOS platform already automates more than a hundred of Walmart's fleet of commercial floor scrubbers across the United States.

"We're excited to work with Brain Corp in supporting our retail operations and providing our associates with a safe and reliable technology", John Crecelius, Walmart's vice president of central operations, said.

The janotirs can be controlled through an app (left). Advances in computer vision are also making it possible to use retail floor data to better understand consumer behavior, improve inventory tracking and even do away with checkout counters, as Amazon.com Inc.is trying to do with its cashierless stores.

The company doesn't actually manufacture the robots, however, just the software that powers them, called BrainOS.

Walmart said the robots would free up its workers from redundant work - and presumably spend more attention on customer needs.

Brain last month unveiled a smaller version of the machine developed jointly with SoftBank Group Corp.'s robotics arm and aimed at the Japanese market.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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