Fast Company Takes a Look at Walmart's Growing Robot Army

Whipsaw-designed Bossanova robots featured in Fast Company article

September 11, 2019

Walmart has been integrating Bossanova robots into their workforce since 2017, and the experiment has been such a success that the bots have recently rolled out in 350 stores. The Whipsaw-designed Bossanova robots work alongside human Walmart employees but absorb the more general tasks, including scanning shelves for out-of-stock items.

Whipsaw sought to streamline in-store workflow while also achieving optimal robot-human interaction through its redesign. Says the Whipsaw engineering team, “The Bossanova project was tough. This big robot roams the aisles of stores, taking stock of inventory and pricing. Given this demanding environment often packed with people and carts, the robot had to be safe, controllable, responsive, dependable, and good looking. The robots sensors and cameras needed to reach the top shelf of merchandise—hence the tall tower.

As Fast Company writer Katharine Schwab states, “One thing that Bossa Nova needed to do was make sure that robots always yielded to people, didn’t get in their way, and could communicate where they were going so people weren’t confused.” To help the Bossanova safely and unobtrusively maneuver around the stores, Whipsaw developed a rotating ring of light which indicates the direction the bot intends to move—a significant upgrade from the previous model’s “turn signal” that wasn’t well-received by employees or shoppers.

Whipsaw is delighted that its client, Bossa Nova, has seen such remarkable market success through Walmart’s large scale implementation of their robot line. The Whipsaw engineering team notes, “Bossanova represents a harbinger of things to come where robots do mundane tasks, freeing people to do creative things instead.”

See the original article – Fast Company

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