Autonomous robots can be seen doing the odd job in place of human workers. Retail stores like Walmart have already put robots to use (as a janitorial role), and while that may seem like a good idea to boost sales, it does pose the risk of job losses for employees. However, Walmart isn't the only company using robots for specific tasks. Companies around the world are also using autonomous robots to deliver packages, especially in aircraft drones.
The autonomous bot deployed by Walmart will carry out menial tasks throughout the store. (Image Credit: Walmart)
Walmart will be deploying 1,500 Auto-C autonomous floor cleaners, 300 Auto-S shelf scanners and another 1,200 FAST unloaders that will scan and sort items as they become unloaded from delivery trucks. The retail store will also have an additional 900 Pickup Towers, allowing customers to order merchandise online from Walmart's website and then picking up the item at a vending machine located at the closest Walmart store.
The main reason behind deploying autonomous bots in the retail stores is so employees can pay more attention to their customers while preparing their online orders for pickup. Giving employees jobs they can focus on may seem like a good idea when it benefits sales in the store, but there are also concerns about these machines taking over current employee jobs instead of having the company move them over to a task focusing more on customer-service.
Robots are also being used to deliver packages. Starship Technologies is helping to expand the role robots play in this field. The company recently announced that their autonomous courier robots have made 50,000 deliveries and traveled over 200,000 miles around the world since it first launched in 2018 in the UK. However, this is a smaller number compared to FedEx, who has made over 15 million deliveries per day while Domino's Pizza delivers over 2 million pizzas a day.
Alphabet's Wing division will be joining the ranks of robotic deliveries by launching the service in Australia. Their drones will deliver small goods like medicine, coffee and necessary groceries to customers in Crace, Palmerston and Franklin, outside the capital city of Canberra. These small goods will come from different businesses such as Kickstart Expresso, Capital Chemist, Pure Gelato, Jasper + Myrtle, Bakers Delight, Guzman Y Gomez, and Drummond Golf. The company will also expand its deliveries to other neighborhoods in a few weeks and months and will also make more connections with other businesses to make more product available.
The team behind the drone company has been testing their drones in Australia since 2014, and they had planned to launch a commercial service in 2017. The company made a collaborative effort with Mexican food chain Guzman Y Gomez and pharmaceutical company Chemist Warehouse for further, more advanced testing in October 2017. Since then, Wing has delivered 3,000 packages to customers in Fernleigh Park, Royalla and Bonython. The company is making preparations to do some trial runs in Helsinki, Finland and have given themselves confidence by turning their ambitions into a bigger business.
While these robots may benefit businesses in retail stores and package deliveries, it could also impact human jobs by replacing them. This could eventually result in a large mass of job loss in the near future.
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