Giant Food Stores rolling out googly-eyed helper robots nationwide

Marty is a robot that’s on the lookout for grocery store spills. 

Giant Food Stores

Employees at Giant Food Stores will soon have a new googly-eyed robot coworker.

Marty, a tall grey robot assistant, will take on the aisles of all of Giant Food Stores’ 172 locations, the company said Monday. The robot can identify and report spills to customers and employees.

Marty roams the store unassisted to flag spills and other hazards using image capturing technology, according to The Washington Post. When it finds them, the robot will reportedly alert customers by saying “caution, hazard detected.” It’ll also announce the incident through the store’s public address system to notify employees, the Post said. 

Giant Food Stores ran a pilot program with the robot in two of its Pennsylvania stores last year. 

“Bringing robotics and AI 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. 

Marty is fitted with scanners to prevent it from bumping into objects and people, according to PennLive. It’s reportedly powered by rechargeable batteries and has multiple internal cameras. 

The robot frees up associates to spend more time working with customers, Giant Food Stores said in its statement. And have no fear: Marty won’t replace human workers, said spokesman Christopher Brand.

Giant Food Stores isn’t the only company adding robots to its workforce. Walmart said last month it would place autonomous floor-scrubbing robots in its stores across the country by the end of January. In October, the retail giant also said it was testing the use of robots to handle repeatable tasks like scanning shelves and making sure pricing is correct. 

Giant Food Stores will roll out Marty “in waves over the coming months,” and expects to have the robots all in place by mid-2019.

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