A shopper loads her car after shopping at a Walmart in PittsburghWalmart, Pittsburgh, USA - 22 Feb 2018

San Diego-based artificial intelligence company Brain Corp. said it is expanding its relationship with Walmart by providing its “BrainOS” technology to more than 1,500 robotic floor cleaners that the mass retailer deploys in its stores. This brings the total number of floor cleaners powered by the BrainOS operating system in Walmart stores to more than 1,860 machines.

Despite social justice activists warning of the impending doom caused by a world run by robots, Walmart is among the leaders in using AI and robots in stores and fulfillment centers to improve the shopping experience. The goal is not to replace human workers, but to free them up to do other tasks — such as better serving customers.

Robots are also being deployed outside of stores and warehouses. For example, earlier this year, Walmart joined Target Corp. and Walgreens in a program with FedEx Corp. to test the use of robots in last-mile deliveries.

In regard to the Brain Corp. commercial operating system, the company said it supports Walmart’s “Auto-C (autonomous cleaning) initiative through the enablement of robotic floor cleaners.” The robots powered by BrainOS operate “collaboratively alongside Walmart associates by utilizing a simple and intuitive ‘teach and repeat’ approach, which allows associates to easily deploy the machine and adjust cleaning routes as the environment changes,” the company said.

John Crecelius, Walmart’s senior vice president of central operations, said technologies “like this prove to be a valuable tool in the support of our retail associates.” He added that the company was looking forward to expanding upon “our floor-cleaning fleet as we continue to integrate the power of robotics and AI into our daily operations, freeing up associates to serve our customers better.”

 

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