Walmart Shopping Cart Robots Will Follow You

Walmart, the nation's largest retailer, is working on robots to help you.


(Walmart looking at Budgee robot)

Walmart is collaborating with Five Elements Robotics to create a shopping cart robot. Neither company is talking much about the collaboration, but it’s easy to make some conclusions with confidence based on what Five Elements Robotics has done before. The company’s main focus is on Budgee–a personal robot that follows its owner around and has a large storage area for your shopping, or just to carry items from place-to-place. That same tech can be integrated into shopping carts, meaning rather than pushing them around they’ll instead follow you, leaving your hands free to browse the shelves.

John Brunner called this idea the "autoporter" in his 1975 novel The Shockwave Rider:

...he nabbed an autoporter and - after consulting the illuminated fee table on its flank - credded the minimum: $35 for an hour's service...

From now until his credit expired the machine would carry his bag in its soft plastic jaws and follow him as faithfully as a well-trained hound, which indeed it resembled, down to the whimper it was programmed to utter at the 55-minute mark, and the howl at 58.

At 60 it would drop the bag and slink away.

Via geek.

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