Walmart experiments with robotic shopping carts

Photo courtesy of the United States Patent and Trademark Office

Photo courtesy of the United States Patent and Trademark Office

Throughout the past century, we’ve seen many jobs that used to be done by humans get outsourced to robots. And that may be the case again if Walmart’s newest idea lives up to its potential.

Last week, America’s biggest private employer patented a robotic device that would change the way Americans shop for groceries.

Essentially, the device is a hands-free shopping cart that also retrieves containers and abandoned items, and it returns itself to the cart corral.

According to CBS News, the “robot revolution” is expected to take 5 million jobs away from human in the next five years.

“In the modern retail store environment, there is a need to improve the customer experience and/or convenience for the customer. Customers often require assistance that employees of the store are not always able to provide,” the patent said. “Additionally, due to high employee turnover rates, available employees may not be fully trained or have access to information to adequately support customers. Other routine tasks also are difficult to keep up with, particularly during peak hours.”

At this point in time, Walmart has not specifically announced when and where it will be introducing these new robotic devices.