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Walmart rolls out 'shelf-scanning' robots

The big box retailer continues to bet on tech, bringing robots to cruise the aisles in more than 50 stores.

walmart

That light grey machine is one of Walmart's new "shelf-scanning" robots.

Walmart

What we think of as a robot, Walmart calls "shelf-scanning technology." And don't be surprised if you run into these tall, grey machines slowly rolling down the aisle of your local store.

The big box retailer said Thursday that it's testing a "small number" of robots to "handle tasks that are repeatable, predictable and manual." Such tasks include scanning shelves for out-of-stock items, making sure all pricing is correct and fixing any wrong or missing labels.

"This new shelf-scanning technology frees up time for our associates," Walmart wrote in a blog post.

To keep up with the times, Walmart has been increasingly turning to tech. It's acquired online shopping sites to grow it's e-commerce business, it's been testing straight-to-you-fridge grocery delivery and it's worked with Google to create a voice shopping assistant.

Walmart said the robots won't be replacing human employees, instead they'll be helping to "save our associates and customers time."

So far, Walmart has tested the shelf-scanning technology in several stores in Arkansas, Pennsylvania and California. It's now planning to bring the robots to 50 more stores in the near future.

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