Walmart rolling out robot floor cleaners

Posted: 9:22 PM, Dec 04, 2018
Updated: 2018-12-05 03:22:49Z
Walmart rolling out robot floor cleaners

By Josh White 

(RNN) – Hundreds of robotic custodians will soon be scrubbing the floors at Walmart.

The retailer  announced this week  that it’s expanding the number of robot floor sweepers it’s already using.

The Auto-C (Autonomous Cleaner) scrubbing machines are now in 78 stores. The company will use the robots in around 360 stores  by the end of January .

The machines navigate the stores to clean and polish floors using sensors, which help the robots steer around people and other obstacles.

The sensors also collect data, which the robots can upload into a store’s cloud-based platform. A Walmart spokesman told  NBC News  that the robots could, for instance, collect data on which shelves are empty.

Walmart said the robots should free up time for its employees to do other jobs besides scrubbing floors, including “tidying restrooms, dust-mopping the checkout aisles, or engaging with customers.”

The robots do, however, need a little help from humans to get started. An employee maps out the robot’s routes during an initial training ride. After that, the Auto-C is on its own.

The expansion of the robotic cleaner is Walmart’s latest experiment in automation.

The company has also introduced an  automated shelf scanner  to check for items that are incorrectly priced or out of stock, and the “ Alphabot ,” which hauls products from storage to help fill online orders.

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