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Grocers Enlist Robots to Chase E-Commerce

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A robot scans shelves in a Schnucks store to flag when items are out of stock.

Food retailers increasingly are turning to robotics and artificial intelligence to reduce costs and improve efficiency in their warehouse operations.

Credit: Simbe Robotics

Grocers are deploying robots and artificial intelligence (AI) to boost warehouse efficiency amid intensifying competition for consumer food spending.

The Albertsons supermarket chain hired Takeoff Technologies to build a network of smaller warehouses where robots and AI help fill online orders, with Takeoff’s first grocery online order sorting system running at a Sedano's Supermarket in Miami, FL, where machines in the back of the store retrieve items from towers of products, then workers package the goods faster and more efficiently than a purely manual sorting process.

Meanwhile, Commonsense Robotics says it is negotiating to set up similar warehouses with AI-driven robots for several U.S. supermarket chains next year; each warehouse would be capable of processing about 1,000 daily grocery orders for delivery.

From The Wall Street Journal
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