Walmart is parting ways with robots used to monitor store inventory as the retail giant realized humans are just as capable, a new report said.
The robot layoff is the result of the company cutting ties with startup Bossa Nova Robotics, which over the last five years provided six-foot-tall inventory-tracking machines to roughly 500 Walmart stores, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Sources familiar with the move told the newspaper that company executives determined they can use their own store employees to effectively keep tabs of inventory.
Walmart US chief executive John Furner has also expressed concern over shopper reactions to the hulking robots.
Walmart is looking to replace the robots with workers who have been walking around stores to pull online orders, which have increased during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We learned a lot about how technology can assist associates, make jobs easier and provide a better customer experience,” a Walmart spokeswoman told the Journal.
“We will continue testing new technologies and investing in our own processes and apps to best understand and track our inventory and help move products to our shelves as quickly as we can.”
Other robots, including floor-cleaning ones, will remain in Walmart, the report said.
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