Walmart plans to add more than 300 robot janitors to clean up stores nationwide, according to a new joint statement with San Diego-based Brain Corp, the company behind artificial intelligence platform BrainOS.
A total 360 BrainOS-powered machines, which feature “autonomous navigation and data collection capabilities,” are expected in stores by the end of its fiscal year, Jan. 31, 2019.
The machines will be used to scrub floors with the press of a button. Similar robots have also been deployed for clean-up at airports in Seattle, San Diego, Boston and Miami, Brain Chief Executive Officer Eugene Izhikevich told Bloomberg.
“We're excited to work with Brain Corp in supporting our retail operations and providing our associates with a safe and reliable technology,” said John Crecelius, Walmart's VP of Central Operations. “BrainOS is 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.”
According to Bloomberg, the world’s largest retailer has been experimenting with automation in recent months via shelf scans and storage hauling. Brain’s robots are another way Walmart plans to “gather and upload data” on consumer behavior.
“We can take anything that has wheels and turn it into a fully autonomous robot, provided that it can go slow and stopping is never a safety concern,” Izhikevich said. “And it’s more than just navigation. It is to robots what Android operating system is to smartphones.”