Bay Area-based Bossa Nova Robotics this morning announced plans to bring its shelf-scanning inventory robot to 1,000 Walmart stores in the U.S. The plan adds an additional 650 locations to the growing army of retail robots, up front its current number of 350.
It’s a sizable presence for the startup, which was founded in Pittsburgh in 2005 as a robotic toy startup. The company announced an initial deal with Walmart back in 2017, starting with a modest 50 robots.
The six-foot-tall robot doesn’t have any arms, meaning it can’t perform pick and place functions that other companies are attempting to rollout. The means it’s not designed to directly replace the task of manually restocking. Instead, the robot is designed to supplement or replace the tedious task of inventory.
It scans the shelves looking for missing items, sending that information back to a central computer. From there, employees can find the right product to replace on the shelf. Clearly the robots have been something right with such a large order this last time around. Of course, it’s still a fraction of the overall number of Walmart locations in the U.S., which are currently at around 5,000.
This latest rollout should be completed this summer.