Robots and drones are becoming normalized for businesses, and it looks like this won’t be a fad. With automated drones and robotics now viable, supermarket chain Walmart has announced plans to add the technology to their workforce.
Considering how many drones and robots we’ve seen help with labor over the past few months, it was only a matter of time before Walmart joined the frey. But just how many machines will there be?
Walmart ups its drones with DroneUp
In a press release, Walmart confirmed that they would be partnering with DroneUp to expand delivery options and “help customers get the items they need when they need them.” The fleet of delivery drones aim to service up to four million homes across the US, including Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Texas, Utah, and Virginia.
For a delivery fee of $3.99, Walmart will make sure that these drones and robots deliver all of your needs from 8am to 8pm. However, the drones can only deliver up to 10 pounds worth of items. This means that small groceries or snacks should make these automatons perfect.
“After completing hundreds of deliveries within a matter of months across our existing DroneUp hubs, we’ve seen firsthand how drones can offer customers a practical solution for getting certain items, fast,” the company said in their press release. “More importantly, we’ve seen a positive response from our customers that have used the service.”
Walmart also has robots
Like the title of this article says, Walmart will also be using robots in addition to drones. This time the company will be teaming with robotics company Symbotic. Currently, Symbotic robots populate 25 Walmart warehouses but the company is hoping to increase that number to 42 soon.
“The expanded partnership with Walmart substantiates how our technology is truly reinventing the traditional warehouse and distribution of consumer goods across the supply chain,” said Rick Cohen, Chairman, President and Chief Product Officer of Symbotic. “As a technology platform with deep roots in warehousing and distribution – our system addresses some of the biggest challenges of today’s complex supply chain, such as inventory agility, transportation cost and labor availability. Modernizing the warehouse allows consumers to get what they need faster and creates benefits for everyone including workers, customers and their local communities.”
Of course, as with any introduction of automation, the question always reverts back to: What about the human workers? Well, at this point, the supermarket's automation is not outright replacing humans, at least fofor deliveries. However, only time will tell how long that will last.