US retail giant Walmart is laying off the robots it had deployed in 500 of its stores to keep tabs on what’s on and not on the shelves.
The company said on Monday that it had ended its relationship with start-up Bossa Nova Robotics, which builds roving robots equipped with cameras for identifying out-of-stock and misplaced products.
Walmart said in a statement that it had “worked with Bossa Nova for five years and together we learned a lot about how technology can assist associates, make jobs easier and provide a better customer experience”. It said it is still testing other new technologies for tracking inventory and moving goods.
The Wall Street Journal was first to report the ending of the partnership, citing unnamed people familiar with the situation who said the retailer found human workers could get similar results. There was also some concern about how shoppers reacted to robots doing the work, according to the report.
Bossa Nova Robotics, which was founded in 2005 in Pittsburgh, has yet to issue a statement.