“Spill in Aisle 12”. We’ve been hearing that phrase over grocery loudspeakers for years. Instead of waiting for human employees to find the hazard, two companies are looking to use a googly-eyed robot as the first line of defense against grocery store spills.
Badger and Ahold Delhaize Launch Marty the Grocery Store Robot
Meet Marty the robot from Kentucky-based Badger Technologies. He’s being launched into grocery stores this year in a partnership with food retail group Ahold Delhaize USA. Marty’s job is to patrol grocery store aisles looking for spills and other possible dangers.
8 onboard cameras scan for things like spills and debris. When a hazard is discovered, Marty sends a real-time alert along with images to a control center which then alerts human employees in the store. Not all of the cameras are pointed downwards as some of them scan shelves taking a look at price tags. Marty’s other job is to make sure products are labeled and priced correctly. Like with spills, if the grocery store robot notices any errors he’ll send out an alert.
To avoid any customers or shopping carts that may get in the way, laser-based sensors help the slim grey robot navigate around the store. Marty can operate 7 days a week and fully cover a whole store about a dozen times a day. The grocery store robot runs on a rechargeable lithium battery. While Marty’s cartoonish eyes are purely for cosmetic reasons, they do give him a friendlier appearance making customers feel more at ease.
500 Marty Robots to Be in Grocery Stores This Year
Ahold Delhaize and Badger are placing about 500 of these robots into US grocery stores with the rollout being mostly complete by mid-2019. Some of the chains mentioned in the news release are Stop & Shop, Giant Food Stores and Martin’s. This past year Marty was successfully tested in two stores in Pennsylvania helping to improve efficiency and safety. Customers got a kick out of seeing the funny looking robot going up and down the aisles.
“As part of our continued focus on technology transformation, we’re pleased to support one of the most significant deployments of robotics innovation in the grocery retail industry,” said RBS executive vice president and chief information officer Paul Scorza “Several companies in the grocery retail space have recently begun testing or using in-store robots, something Retail Business Services and the local brands we serve have been doing for some time. We’re pleased to support the Giant/Martin’s and Stop & Shop brands, as they now lead the industry from test to large-scale usage of robots and to see the benefits the technology continues to drive for their businesses.”