Giant Food Stores, supermarkets that are common sights in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia, are getting some robotic assistance. Within six months, each of these 172 supermarkets will be working with robots called Marty.
Giant’s parent company, Ahold Delhaize USA, which is based out of the Netherlands, also owns Martin’s and Stop & Shop locations. They’ll also be getting robots, bringing the total number of stores getting Martys to 500.
These robots aren’t quite replacing the humans in these supermarkets. Built by Badger Technologies, a product division of Jabil., which has also built robotic janitors for Wal Mart, Martys will be alerting humans to problems that need their attention. They’ll move through the Giants and when they notice spills or other trip hazards, they’ll alert customers verbally and reach out to employees through the store’s public announcement system.
“Bringing robotics and A.I. from a research lab to the sales floor has been a very exciting journey, and we were thrilled by the customer response in our pilot stores,” says Nicholas Bertram, president of Giant in a press release. “Our associates have worked hard to bring this innovation to life with amazing partners.”
“Marty does not replace our associates – instead, he allows members of our team to spend more time engaging with and assisting customers,” says Ashley Flower, spokeswoman.
While Marty seems to have a limited scope, robots manning aisles in either grocery stores or warehouses appears to be closer on the horizon than ever. Amazon, for example, has been holding competitions for years for picker robots, which can grab various items off the shelves.
Source: Washington Post
Originally posted on Popular Mechanics
Upated 16 February 2019: A previous version of this article incorrectly attributed Brain Corp as the builders of these robots. This has been corrected to Badger Technologies, a product division of Jabil.