After a successful pilot this past fall, Marty the robot will be making his way through aisles at the 172 locations of the Giant Food Stores grocery chain across Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia, The Washington Post reports.
“This store is monitored by Marty for your safety,” reads a label on the robot. “Marty is an autonomous robot that uses image capturing technology to report spills, debris and other potential hazards to store employees to improve your shopping experience.”
Giant’s parent company, Ahold Delhaize USA, plans to deploy about 500 robots to stores such as Giant, Martin’s and Stop & Shop, according to the outlet. Within six months, Giant expects to have completed the rollout to their stores.
“Bringing robotics and A.I. from a research lab to the sales floor has been a very exciting journey, and we were thrilled by the customer response in our pilot stores. Our associates have worked hard to bring this innovation to life with amazing partners.”
“Bringing robotics and A.I. from a research lab to the sales floor has been a very exciting journey, and we were thrilled by the customer response in our pilot stores,” Nicholas Bertram, president of Giant Food Stores, said in a statement. “Our associates have worked hard to bring this innovation to life with amazing partners.”
Beeping as he moves, Marty surveys store floors for spills and trip hazards, unaccompanied. Once he finds a spill, he pages for help and relays a verbal message to both customers and store associates.
Patrick Maturo, manager of store optimization at Ahold USA, told PennLive that Marty also checks shelves for out of stock items and conducts price checks to ensure that prices on the shelf reflect those in the store’s scanning system.
While Marty tackles these duties, associates get more face time with customers. His role as an assistant means that Marty is not replacing human jobs, according to Maturo. Customers appear to get a kick out of Marty, who is already proving to be a selfie magnet.