Walmart Tests Robot to Perform Kitchen Tasks
BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart may add robots to its kitchens, as the big-box retailer is currently testing new technology that essentially acts as a fry cook.
The robot, named Flippy, is said to be able to grill 150 hamburger patties per hour, reported Convenience Store News sister publication Progressive Grocer.
Pasadena, Calif.-based Miso Robotics designed Flippy, which costs between $60,000 and $100,000, and is being tested at Walmart's Bentonville headquarters.
The robot could eventually move to delis and kitchens to take over repetitive tasks. It is not limited to flipping burger patties but can also act as an "autonomous arm" with the ability to perform activities such as moving chicken tenders into the correct fryer, cooking them evenly and then removing their basket from the hot oil, according to Progressive Grocer.
Flippy follows Walmart's October 2017 testing of Bossa Nova, an aisle-roaming robot that scans shelves for out-of-stocks, incorrect prices, and wrong or missing labels in a small number of its stores, and the October 2018 unveiling of the Auto-C autonomous cleaning robot, which, like a self-driving car, uses assisted autonomy technology to clean and polish floors, freeing up employees to take care of other tasks.
Workers should not worry that they will be replaced by workers, according to Miso Robotics CEO David Zito.
"What we want to do is assist the hardworking linemen cooks and chefs in America with tools to give them the ability to faithfully reproduce while taking the burden off some of these more repetitive and mundane tasks," Zito said.
Walmart currently operates under nearly 60 different banners around the world, including e-commerce sites. It has more than 11,600 stores and clubs in 28 countries.
Convenience Store News and Progressive Grocer are properties of EnsembleIQ.