Re-stocking drinks in a refrigerator is not a fun or fulfilling job. So it's time to let robots do it!
More and more robots are finding their place in the workforce, taking on the jobs humans can't (or won't) do. Take, for example, the repetitive task of re-stocking shelves in a supermarket. In Japan, the FamilyMart grocery company has implemented an artificial intelligence-powered robot that handles some of the activities usually allocated for retail stockers.
The company has partnered with Telexistence, which has created the "TX SCARA." This robot can operate almost totally autonomously, but don't expect it to freely travel between retail aisles just yet. Instead, its designers created it to perform a specific task: replace beverage bottles and cans in refrigerators.
The goal of FamilyMart is to employ the machine to replace supermarket stockers in the most time-consuming and physically demanding duties. "The adoption of Telexistence's robots and artificial intelligence system will create surplus time without adding additional staff, and time can be redirected to customer service and upgrading the production area, resulting in a better work environment and operations," both firms said.
Supermarket stockers will undoubtedly appreciate robotic assistance, given that each of FamilyMart's locations sells approximately 1,000 drinks per day. Unfortunately, as a result, replacement tasks are frequent and somewhat unpleasant.
As seen in the video published by Telexistence, the supermarket stocking robots will be situated in the back portion of the refrigerators. They will then re-stock the bottles and cans as needed, using an artificial intelligence system that recognizes each product and where it should be located. And, if anything goes wrong, a human can remotely control the robot via a VR headset.