The approximately 2-foot robots come with a tower that is fitted with cameras that scan aisles to check stock and identify missing and misplaced items, incorrect prices and mislabeling. The robots pass that data to store employees, who then stock the shelves and fix errors.
Out-of-stock items are a big problem for retailers since they miss out on sales every time a shopper cannot find a product on store shelves.
Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer has been testing shelf-scanning robots in a handful of stores in Arkansas, Pennsylvania and California.
“If you are running up and down the aisle and you want to decide if we are out of Cheerios or not, a human doesn’t do that job very well, and they don’t like it,” Jeremy King, chief technology officer for Wal-Mart U.S. and e-commerce, told Reuters.
The company said the robots would not replace workers or affect employee headcount in stores.
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