Robot workers will soon be roaming the isles of some Schnucks grocery stores in the U.S.
The chain announced the introduction of a fleet of robot stock boys named Tally with screens to 'make them appear friendly' to its workforce - and while these robo employees don't have limbs and can't physically stock the shelves, they'll be tasked with wandering the isles to check inventory and verify prices.
The chain - which has 100 locations in five states - will initially test Tally in two stores before hopefully rolling out the full robot fleet.
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The chain - which has 100 locations in five states - will initially test Tally in two stores before hopefully rolling out the full robot fleet to collect pricing and inventory data at the rest of its locations
Tally will start at Schnucks locations in Richmond Heights, Kirkwood, and Town and Country, Missouri.
'This is a big learning experience for us to really understand what the capability is,' Dave Steck, Schnuck Markets' vice president of IT and infrastructure, told the St.Louis Post-Dispatch.
Company documents reviewed by Bloomberg before Whole Foods acquisition was announced suggest that automation will be a key strategy used by Amazon.
Brittain Ladd, a supply chain consultant who has previously worked at Amazon, suggests that the firm may build a network of automated warehouses that serve both Amazon and Whole Foods.
Mr Ladd said: 'The goal will be to create as advanced a distribution capability as possible to provide customers with exceptional service and the freshest of fresh produce, vegetables, and meat.
'Amazon will win the battle against Wal-Mart by winning with fresh food.'
The next step after automating the warehouses could be bringing robots into