Robots on the Retail Aisle?

Robotics has been playing a key role in omnichannel retailing with its adoption in supply chain and fulfillment, helping retailers and brands better manage their inventory. Now robots are poised to debut on the retail shopping aisle.

Five Elements Robotics said it is ready to roll out the Dash Robotic Shopping Cart, which takes shoppers directly to the products on their shopping lists. “Dash Robotic Shopping Cart was designed with the frustrated shopper in mind,” the company said this morning. “Simply walk up to Dash, transfer your shopping list from your phone, or create a new list using the store search feature. Then, follow the robot as it maps out the most effective route to your items and takes you to each one.”

The robot is also equipped with a scanner/payment system “so the customer can scan and pay for their items at the cart” – which is designed to eliminate waiting in lines, the company said. “After paying for items, the cart follows the customer to their car for unloading,” the company said. “Once empty, the cart returns itself to the store and its docking station.”

Five Elements Robotics also said that Dash has a virtual reality (VR) interface, which “shows the store to the customer as she walks down the aisles. Looking up, the customer sees the store; looking down, the customer sees the VR representation of the store and aisle they are in with their next item highlighted on the screen.”

Wendy Roberts, chief executive officer of the company, said the Dash Robotic Shopping Cart “will absolutely transform the way we do shopping.”

Dash is offered for businesses, and the company said it can help increase sales, reduce operating costs and decrease shrinkage as well as offer up-to-date inventory and data analytics.

For consumers, the company offers the Budgee, which is described as a “friendly robot” that follows its owner around and can carry items weighing up to 50 pounds. Roberts founded the company in 2012.


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