Robots Take Center Stage In COVID-19 Crisis

COVID-19could mark the
true rise of the robots in retail. As warehouse workers strike for
better protective equipment and consumers show increased
sensitivity around handling food, several new examples of robots
filling in have emerged over the past few weeks.

The robotic rise can be seen in two key areas: fulfillment and
in-store. As an example, Ocado, Britain’s leading online
grocer, has had to stress-test an experimental program to automate
its warehouses. After seeing an initial crash due to unprecedented
demand when the COVID-19 crisis hit, the retailer is now using
robots to pick and pack customer orders. Meanwhile, according
to reports
, retailers including Walmart and Amazon have already
implemented mobile robots in their retail stores and warehouses to
handle such essential functions as materials handling, inventory
tracking and cleaning.

“Autonomous service and delivery
 are poised to better serve – and possibly
save – retailers,†noted a report
in Robotics
Business Review
. “Some industry analysts have
predicted that robotics in retail will be involved in more than
three-quarters of logistics operations,
with McKinsey estimating
that autonomous vehicles will make up 80 percent of
deliveries by 2025.â€ÂÂ

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Posted on April 14, 2020