Walmart: Floor cleaning robots will give associates more time to serve customers
Walmart announced earlier this week that it is deploying robots to 360 of its stores to clean floors. The machines, which resemble Zambonis, are designed with autonomous navigation technology that allows them to clean up even as customers shop in the aisles.
The Auto-C (Autonomous Cleaner) robots, which are currently in 78 Walmart locations, use an operating system created by Brain Corp. The machines are initially driven by store associates through the store to map the landscape for subsequent travels sans humans. The robots use sensors to scan and navigate their surroundings in order to protect the safety of people and property. Each machine collects data, which is tied into a reporting system on the cloud.
John Crecelius, VP of central operations for Walmart, said the robots will serve as “a powerful tool in helping our associates complete repetitive tasks so they can focus on other tasks within role and spend more time serving customers.”
A post on the Walmart blog estimates that an associate spends two hours per day using the non-autonomous scrubbing machines currently being used in its stores. “Instead of riding the scrub machine, a Walmart associate can be tidying restrooms, dust-mopping the checkout aisles, or engaging with customers,” according to the blog.
Walmart has been active in using technology to improve efficiency and reduce costs within its business. Earlier this year, the chain announced it was expanding a test of shelf-scanning robots and it has continued to roll out Pickup towers for online orders in stores across the country.
- You’ll Never Believe Who’s Scrubbing the Floors at Walmart – Walmart
- Brain Corp to Provide AI Services to Walmart – Brain Corporation/PRNewswire
- Walmart puts robots to work with humans in more stores – RetailWire
- Is Walmart building a tower of power with its expanding in-store pickup network? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will the deployment of Auto-C scrubbing robots in Walmart’s stores positively affect the retailer’s ability to serve shoppers? How will the use of robotic technology affect the role and scope of the retail workforce over the next five to 10 years?