Walmart is reportedly giving up on shelf-scanning robots in favor of humans

www.theverge.com
3 min read
fairly difficult
Walmart has reportedly ended a contract with robots startup Bossa Nova Robotics that saw shelf-scanning robots appear in some 500 Walmart stores. The retail giant found that humans could do the job just as well, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.
Retail robots that can scan shelves and update inventory have been one of the most visible faces of automation in recent years, but the success of such machines is far from guaranteed. According to The Wall Street Journal, Walmart — one of the biggest adopters of this technology — is ending a contract that saw shelf-scanning robots appear in some 500 of its stores. Apparently, the retailer found that humans could do the job just as well.

Walmart began using robots supplied by Bossa Nova Robotics in 2017, with initial deployments in 50 locations. The mobile robots would simplify routine work in stores, said the company, using machine vision to scan shelves and identify what products needed restocking. Earlier this year, Bossa Nova said it planned to expand to 1,000 Walmart stores.

Why exactly Walmart is ending the partnership is unclear, though it seems the global pandemic had an effect. The WSJ…
James Vincent
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