Walmart Ditches Inventory-Tracking Robots In Favor Of Humans: WSJ

Walmart Inc WMT is no longer pursuing plans to deploy inventory scanning robots in its stores. The retailer has ended its five-year-long collaboration with Bossa Rova Robotics Inc, according to the Wall Street Journal.

What Happened: The supermarket chain observed that it doesn't need especially-designed six-foot-tall inventory tracking robots, particularly when its human employees are able to deliver similar results, the Journal reported.

Walmart found that employees spend more time in the aisles due to an increased number of online deliveries and pickups during the pandemic, providing it access to increased data on problems related to inventory.  Over time, Walmart plans to use these employees to track and monitor inventory levels, amount, and location.

The way Walmart customers perceive robots working in the stores during their visits is also a concern Walmart CEO John Furner expressed, as per the Journal.

Why Does It Matter: Other robots that handle tasks mechanical tasks at Walmart stores, like floor scrubbing, will still have a role to play. Walmart had around 500 robots across its chain of over 4,700 stores, the Journal reports.

Since the contract expired, Bossa Rova has reportedly downsized by 50%. The San Francisco-headquartered robotics company is now said to be exploring new clients and ventures.

Price Action: WMT stock closed 1.19% higher at $140.40 per share on Monday.

See Also: YouTube Finds Machines Really Suck At Moderating Content

Walmart store exterior. Photo courtesy: Walmart Inc via Flickr

Posted In: artificial intelligenceBossa Rova RoboticsretailrobotsThe Wall Street JournalNewsEventsTechMedia

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