From: Matt Simon for Wired
Published January 12, 2018 09:09 AM

Please Do Not Assault the Towering Robot That Roams Walmart

If you think shopping is tedious, try juggling 200,000 products in a Walmart. Not literally, of course, but somehow keeping the shelves stocked over an area of tens of thousands of square feet. For that you need a worker with a barcode scanner and an enviable amount of patience.

Or you could unleash a hard-working robot from a company called Bossa Nova. At over six feet tall, it roams the aisles, blasting shelves with light and snapping photos. In two minutes, it can image 80 feet of aisle, capturing a whopping 2 terabytes of raw data scanning a 100,000-square-foot-plus store. That makes it one of the first truly intelligent robots to work alongside humans in complex ways outside of a factory.

Other than city streets, it’d be hard to think of a more difficult environment for a robot to navigate than a store. The machine has to be able to not only autonomously roam the aisles, but dodge workers and step stools and customers suddenly stopping or pulling U-turns with their carts. Just look around you the next time you’re in a busy grocery store. It’s chaos.

Bossa Nova’s robot navigates with lidar, meaning it sprays the world with lasers to build a map. The machine will of course stop and wait if it comes across a human, and will make the decision to reroute if it encounters something that won’t be moving any time soon, like a new display.

Read more at Wired

Photo credit: Wired

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