Walmart drops roving robots for inventory tracking

Walmart has dropped plans to use roving robots to scan shelves and keep track of inventory, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

The move brings an end to years of innovation for the retailer as it looked to use robots to assist shop staff in tasks such as keeping shelves well-stocked.

Walmart reportedly ended its five-year partnership with Bossa Nova Robotics Inc, which had been established to help improve the customer experience through the use of robots.

READ MORE: Walmart launches four new omnichannel test stores with ‘rapid prototype’ approach

Back in January, Walmart announced it would bring the tech start-up’s inventory scanning robots into an additional 650 locations.

People familiar with the situation cited by the Wall Street Journal said the retailer ended the partnership because it had found different and sometimes simpler solutions that proved just as useful in helping with inventory.

The sources added that due to lockdowns caused by coronavirus, Walmart has more workers walking its supermarket aisles to collect online orders, who could now help the retailer monitor product amounts and locations.

“This was one idea we tried in roughly 500 stores just as we are trying other ideas in additional stores,” Walmart said in a statement.

The world’s largest retailer said it would continue to test new technologies, as well as investing in its own processes and apps to track inventory and help get products on to shelves as quickly as possible.

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