Thursday, June 2, 2016

Battle Over the Minimum Wage: Walmart to Use Drones to Replace Employees

Walmart is in the process of developing a drone system that will replace jobs of inventory quality assurance employees, cutting inventory checks across massive its distribution centers (the one in Bentonville is 1.2 million square feet) from one month down to a single day.

Walmart's VP of Emerging Sciences Shekar Natarajan demoed the retailer's new technology to reporters from a Bentonville, Arkansas, distribution center on today, on the eve of its annual shareholders meeting.

The internally autonomous drone technology allows a quad-copter drone, roughly 3 feet by 3 feet, to take 30 images per second from a top-mounted camera.

The camera is linked to a control center and scans for tracking number matches. Matches are registered as green, empty spaces as blue, and mismatches as red. An employee monitors the drone's progress from a computer screen.

Natarajan said that the technology is six to nine months from maturation.

The company also noted that employees who served as inventory checkers will be given new job opportunities, but this just means a cutback in new hires as open positions will be filled by the employees that will no longer be needed to check inventory.

(via Business Insider)

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