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Robot Arms Replacing Shelf Stockers…

(Bloomberg) — Telexistence Inc. and FamilyMart Co. are rolling out a fleet of AI-driven robots to restock shelves in 300 convenience stores across Japan.

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The robot arms are made to replenish drinks in refrigerators and so are now in mass production, Tokyo-based Telexistence said in a statement Wednesday. Theyll be installed in FamilyMart locations across major urban centers later this month and help relieve store workers while also filling the void left by way of a shrinking workforce in the united kingdom.

Dubbed TX SCARA — standing for Selective Compliance Assembly Robot Arm — the machines are largely autonomous, with remote piloting as a fallback option if the artificial intelligence fail or encounter out-of-place items. Each unit can replace someone to three hours of human work each day per store, Telexistence said.

The decline in Japans labor population is among the key management issues for FamilyMart to keep stable store operations, said Tomohiro Kano, general manager at FamilyMart. The newly created time could be reallocated to customer support and shop floor enhancement.

FamilyMart can pay Telexistence a monthly fee for the robots labor, its maintenance and the support of remote workers who is able to pilot the arm utilizing a virtual reality headset when needed. The bots could work without human assistance 98% of that time period, Telexistence said.

US tech giants Microsoft Corp. and Nvidia Corp. collaborated with Telexistence on the development and technology of the bots. The SCARA arms use Nvidias Jetson AI platform to process information and Microsofts Azure cloud infrastructure to record and reference sales data to optimize restocking tasks.

FamilyMart has 16,000 convenience stores, referred to as conbini in Japan, across its domestic market, but Telexistence and Microsoft both say they would like to deliver the technology on a worldwide scale. Telexistence will next target the a lot more than 150,000 convenience stores over the US to expand abroad.

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