STORE SPACES

Walmart rolling out driverless floor scrubbers

BY Marianne Wilson

Walmart is expanding its use of AI technology to free up its store associates from a time-consuming maintenance task.

The discount giant plans to have 360 automated floor cleaners rolling around its stores by the end of January. The machine uses software technology company Brain Corp.’s BrainOS platform whose computer vision and artificial intelligence libraries enable the development of smart systems that can learn and adapt to people and complex scenarios. Walmart is already using the platform to automate more than 100 of its fleet of commercial floor scrubbers.

Brain Corp.’s technology integrates with equipment — the company doesn’t make its own hardware. The platform provides the Walmart machines with autonomous navigation and data collection capabilities, all tied into a cloud-based reporting system. Its navigation stack provides advanced self-driving capabilities for cluttered and busy indoor environments.

Using the platform, Walmart store associates can map a route during an initial training ride on the scrubber and then activate autonomous floor cleaning with the press of a button. The robot uses multiple sensors to scan its surroundings for people and obstacles that may be in its path.

“We’re excited to work with Brain Corp in supporting our retail operations and providing our associates with a safe and reliable technology,” said John Crecelius, Walmart’s VP of central operations. “BrainOS is a powerful tool in helping our associates complete repetitive tasks so they can focus on other tasks within role and spend more time serving customers.”

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