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Fast Company points out in a story that while Amazon efforts in the area of robotics have been well-documented - it has “introduced its cashierless Amazon Go stores, flirted with plans for drone deliveries, and rolled out tens of thousands of robots to shuffle goods around its fulfillment centers” - rivals Walmart and Kroger also have been aggressive in this area.

An excerpt:

“Walmart has been adding bots to many of its warehouses and stores. A grocery distribution center in Shafter, California, is set to open in 2020, with new technology in place to shuttle even perishable goods around the warehouse without damaging them. In a Salem, New Hampshire, Walmart, automated carts will soon shuttle components of online grocery orders from an attached warehouse to be packaged up by human workers.

“Other store bots include an autonomous scrubber that’s set to clean floors in 360 Walmart stores by the end of January, a robotic truck-unloading system that can sort and triage new deliveries on their way to shelves, and even machines that roll through store aisles to track inventory and spot misshelved goods … Automated pickup towers in many stores also deliver customers their online orders without them having to wait on a store employee.”

At the same time, as has been reported, Kroger has made a deal with the UK’s Ocado to build and operate robotic warehouses that are designed to make fulfillment both more efficient and effective.

But, quite naturally, these advances - which some describe as some of the most exciting technological times in memory - are raising concerns that machines will replace workers, creating long-term employment and public-private policy issues.

You can read the entire story here.
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