The US retailer Walmart has partnered with Alert Innovation to test what the company state is “first-of-its-kind automation”. The “Alphabot” was developed specifically for Walmart and will be trialled in Salem, New Hampshire.
The automation system selects items through the storage area by retrieving ordered items and delivering them to pick up stations, making it easier for Walmart workers to assemble the order without having to walk through the store. The new technology is expected to fill online grocery orders easier and faster than the past.
Mark Ibbotson, Executive Vice President of Central Operations, Walmart U.S., stated that “When completed, automated mobile carts will retrieve ordered items — stored warehouse-style in this new space — then deliver them to our associates at one of four pick stations. Our personal shoppers will then pick, assemble and deliver orders to customers. The vast majority of grocery products we offer in-store will be fulfilled through this system, though our personal shoppers will still handpick produce and other fresh items.”
Walmart hopes to launch Alphabot by the end of 2018, with the plan to use technology to provide delivery from the pilot store in future.