Walmart plans to launch a pilot program that uses robotics to complete customers’ online grocery orders.
The company is collaborating with Alert Innovation, a tech startup, to launch the automated system, called Alphabot. Alphabot was developed for Walmart and is being installed at the company’s supercentre in Salem, NH, as a part of the store’s grand re-opening. A 20,000-square-foot extension connected to the store houses the new system and will serve as a dedicated grocery pickup point with drive-thru lanes for customers.
When Alphabot is completed, automated mobile carts will retrieve ordered items – stored warehouse-style in this new space – then deliver them to associates at one of four pick stations. Personal shoppers will then pick, assemble and deliver orders to customers. The vast majority of grocery products offered in-store will be fulfilled through this system, though personal shoppers will still handpick produce and other fresh items.
Walmart plans to have Alphabot up and running by the end of the year.