Bossa Nova. Fast Unloader. And Emma. Meet the Robots Working in a Texas Walmart

The robot was late. Fifty minutes late. Or was it?"It's autonomous," said Tyler Bursey, manager of the 205,000-square-foot Walmart Supercenter in North Richland Hills in northern Tarrant County. "We can't make it start sooner than it wants to."The Bossa Nova shelf-scanning robot stood docked to its electrical source in a hallway leading to the store's back room, where its cohort, the Fast Unloader robot, lives. The two machines can communicate, but more about that later.Photographers were ready, waiting to record the pear-shaped robot with dozens of eyes made by San Francisco-based Bossa Nova Robotics start one of two runs it makes every 24 hours. At 12:50 p.m., the confident robot whirs to life and begins looking for every store manager's dreaded inventory problem -- out-of-stock items. After almost a year of programming and testing the robot that checks for empty spots on shelves, Walmart is rolling out 300 of them to stores nationwide. That includes 25 in Texas and 12 in Dallas-Fort Worth.It's also purchased 1,500 floor cleaning robots, 1,200 Fast Unloaders and 900 more pickup towers for national deployment. Walmart is spending $11 billion this year on its global business.In Texas, the retailer plans to spend $264.9 million in 2019 on smart machines, store remodels and expanding online grocery delivery and pickup to more stores as it battles for market share with Amazon and Target and major grocery chains Kroger, Albertson's and H-E-B.  Continue reading...

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