A fleet of 500 robots is heading to your neighborhood grocery store. (We’ll pause for you to get “…and so it begins” out of your system.) If you’ve been known to pick up oatmilk, gluten-free bread, and boxes of Lucky Charms at 500 Giant, Martin’s, and Stop & Shop locations, you may run into a googly-eyed robot named Marty. The new robots with the not-at-all-suspicious name and face aren’t here to steal human jobs, but to alert customers to a cleanup-in-aisle-three situation.
Thanks to a partnership between Retail Business Services and Badger Technologies, the in-store robots are being used to “identify hazards, such as liquid, powder and bulk food item spills, and provide reporting that enables corrective action,” according to press release. The robots’ ever-watchful eyes (eye?) can help stores mitigate risk caused when someone breaks a jar of Prego (or Ragu) and then someone else walks through it and wipes out in a puddle of marinara. Now the robot can alert people to spills and humans can clean them up, proving that they are definitely still the bosses here.
The deployment of robots at Giant/Martin’s and Stop & Shop is now underway and will continue through the early part of 2019.