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Robotics Research
Posted on September 17, 2020 by  & 

Grocery Store Shelves Stacked by Robots

FamilyMart Co Ltd and Telexistence Inc have started trial operations of the TX robot Model-T and Augmented Workforce Platform (AWP) to build a new store operation model using remote control robot technology.
In this trial operation, the pilot logs into the robot using a VR terminal from the TX office in Toranomon to remotely operate the Model-T installed at the FamilyMart Toshima Ecomusee Town store. With Model-T and AWP, FamilyMart and TX aim to realize a completely new store operation by remoteizing and automating the merchandise restocking work, which requires a large number of labor-hours. As a result, stores can operate with less number of workers and enable them to recruit employees regardless of the store's physical location. For further information see the IDTechEx report on Mobile Robots, Autonomous Vehicles, and Drones in Logistics, Warehousing, and Delivery 2020-2040.
As the first step, TX will start remotely operating the restocking of PET plastic beverage bottles from the backyard storage area of the store, which makes up a relatively large portion of the workload in the store, and also verify the restocking speed and accuracy of the robot. Going forward, FamiyMart and TX will continue to expand the items to be handled by the robot to other product categories, such as rice balls, sandwiches and bento boxes, and aim to deploy the Model-T in up to 20 stores franchised by TX by 2022. In the meantime, TX will continue aiming to introduce Model-T to a broader franchise network and eventually cover all FamilyMart stores.
By introducing Model-T into stores, FamilyMart store staff will be able to work in multiple stores from a remote location, which will help solve challenges around labor shortage and help create new job opportunities. It will also lead to the reduction of human-to-human contact to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Through this corporate alliance, FamilyMart will seek to further improve the convenience of its customers, reduce the operational burden on store employees and work towards realizing an innovative store operation model for the new era.
TX develops remote controlled robots with artificial intelligence. With the remote controlled robots and AWP, TX aims to develop a platform that enables people to provide their workforce regardless of their locations. TX adopts Microsoft Azure for the cloud system to support AWP.
Source and top image: Telexistence Inc
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