Walmart is the world's largest retailer and it will use robots in its day-to-day activities. Its plan is to go in for autonomous floor-scrubbing robots. Initially, there will be 360 of them positioned in some select US outlets by the end of the January. These are nothing but machines programmed to perform pre-designed tasks by using multiple sensors to avoid collision with people and obstacles.

Daily Mail UK reports that a San Diego-based company manufactures these autonomous janitors. This will be a practical application of Artificial Intelligence because these robots will be able to clean floors on their own even when customers are around.

Walmart feels this will be a big advantage because such machines can function in complex, crowded environments. The net result will be an increase in all-round productivity and efficiency.

Robots already exist in other areas

Robots are used in scientific applications and the best examples are the rovers Curiosity and InSight sent by NASA to Mars. Nearer home robots are used to scrub floors at airports in Seattle, San Diego, Boston and Miami. The autonomous janitors that Walmart plans to introduce will be an extension of that concept.

Incidentally, Walmart wants to spread the idea of using robots for many other jobs.

It has its eyes on automating the scanning of shelves for out-of-stock items apart from shifting products from one location to another. John Crecelius, Walmart's vice president of central operations, sees robots as a tool to take over tasks that are of a repetitive nature. That way, the staff can concentrate on other activities like serving their customers.

Human jobs at stake

According to NBC News, Walmart is setting a trend of sorts by offloading routine jobs to robots. Its decision to introduce floor-scrubbing robots in its stores in the US by January is proof of its seriousness. These robots emit audible signals to warn customers and there are visual warnings to ensure that no one hops on it to become mobile.

Moreover, it has sensors that keep collecting a variety of information related to the stock position of items on the shelves.

The entry of Artificial Intelligence in our lives is unavoidable and Amazon, a rival of Walmart, has introduced robots in its distribution centers on a large scale. In fact, it has patented a package-packing robot. In view of the changed scenario, robots pose a major threat to humans who will have to acquire new skills to survive in the world of automation. A report of last year cautions that robots could snatch millions of jobs by 2030.