Walmart is set to dramatically ramp up the number of autonomous robots in its stores as it expands its partnership with Bossa Nova Robotics.
Bossa Nova’s shelf-scanning robots stand six feet tall and automatically navigate stores scanning prices, checking inventory and finding misplaced items or incorrect prices.
In 2017 Walmart introduced 50 of these bots to its stores in a trial phase, ramping this up significantly in April last year to 350 alongside the introduction of thousands of other models.
Now the US largest retailer is adding a further 650 robots to its store estate bringing Bossa Nova’s shelf-scanning bots to 1000 stores by this summer.
Last year Walmart also introduced 1500 floor cleaners, 900 pickup towers and 1200 fast unloaders to its 5000-store estate.
In June the Washington Post reported that although many Walmart employees found the robots helpful, an increasing number were complaining of monotonous working environments due to their introduction.
Bossa Nova’s silent scanning robot was also highlighted in the report as making staff uneasy.
The retailer defended its decision to boost automation, stating that “feedback we’re receiving from associates and customers alike is positive”, and that they allowed staff to move away from “extremely mundane and repetitive” tasks.