Walmart rolls out autonomous forklifts in distribution centres

Walmart is introducing autonomous forklift trucks in four of its “high-tech” distribution centres following a 16-month trial of the technology in Florida.

The trucks use AI-powered machine vision and dynamic planning to unload pallets and place them into the automated storage and retrieval system.

The US retail giant has developed the autonomous forklifts in partnership with Fox Robotics, in which it holds a minority stake.

Walmart said that the 19 autonomous forklift trucks, called FoxBots, are around three times more productive than manually unloading delivery trucks.

“Our new autonomous forklift program with Fox Robotics is proof positive that when you empower associates, embrace innovation and welcome new opportunities, you’ll see growth for the business and its people,” said Shayne Wahlmeier, vice president of innovation and automation. “I’m looking forward to a bright future, led by our people and powered by our tech, to make everyone’s workday a bit better.”

In February, Walmart announced it is planning to build or convert around 150 stores in the US over the next five years. The retailer also has plans to remodel around 650 stores in 47 states over the next 12 months.

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