Robot janitors coming to Walmart

Walmart announced on Monday that it plans to deploy 360 autonomous custodial robots by the end of January that will mop the floors of some of its stores.

The retailer said in a joint statement with developer Brain Corp. that the machines will be able to scrub floors even with customers around. The robots will feature multiple sensors that allow them to scan for people and obstacles.

“BrainOS technology allows robots to effectively and safely function in complex, crowded environments, ensuring increased productivity and efficiency across applications,” Brain Corp. CEO Eugene Izhikevich said in a statement. “We look forward to continuing to work alongside Walmart to help build intelligent, connected stores.”

Bloomberg first reported on the announcement. The devices resemble a miniature Zamboni, the machine used to resurface ice at ice-skating rinks, and a motorized wheelchair, the news outlet said, and are already in use at airports in Seattle, Boston and Miami.

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