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Walmart unveils grocery-picking robots to fulfill online orders

The retailer revealed it has partnered with US-based Alert Innovation, to trial Alphabot, a robotics system designed for its superstore in Salem, New Hampshire in the USA. Photo credit: Walmart

Walmart, one of the world’s largest brick-and-mortar retailers, is piloting a new robotics system that picks customer’ grocery orders.

The retailer revealed it has partnered with US-based Alert Innovation, to trial Alphabot, a robotics system designed for its superstore in Salem, New Hampshire in the USA. 

A 20,000-square-foot extension connected to the store houses the new system and will serve as a grocery pickup point with drive-thru lanes for customers. 

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Alphabot aims to speed up the fulfilment of customers’ online grocery orders by using a robotic sytem.

This technology will bring items from storage to associates who will check the items in the order.

Walmart says that the system is capable of selecting the “vast majority of grocery” items such as dry foods, refrigerated and frozen items. 

This will reduce the time that employees spend walking the store aisles in search of products, except for handpicking produce and other fresh goods. 

“Although this is a small pilot, we expect big things from it,” wrote Mark Ibbotson, executive vice president of central operations for Walmart. 

“We have a lot to learn about this new technology, and we’re excited about the possibilities of how we can use it to make the future of shopping – and working – even better.”

Alphabot is the latest in a string of new technologies Walmart is testing at its stores. 

The retailer has implemented Pickup Towers for its online orders and an automated shelf-scanner that helps to identify out-of-stock items. 

The company's latest robotics system is expected to be ready by the end of the year,

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