The next time you’re at Lowe’s, you might notice that there are fewer blue vests, and you may even see at least one robot wandering the aisles.
The LoweBot has been in production for about two years, with California-based Innovation Labs heading the project. The New Yorker said that the robots’ job will be to “greet customers, help them find what they need, and guide them around the store.”
While the robots are designed to help shoppers in multiple languages, one of the main responsibilities of the LoweBot is to “constantly monitor inventory.” The female voice of the roaming electronic associate sounds eerily similar to ones used in corny 80s films.
The robots will only roam stores in the San Fransisco Bay Area, at least until all the kinks are worked out. The company has tested one or two in California, and it seems there’s still a bit of progress to be made. CBS reported that the robot at their local Lowe’s had difficulty with a busy aisle, and a request for a soda was interpreted as drain cleaner.
While some workers are worried, Lowe’s has made it clear that the robot will not be replacing any workers. Ken Nel, who works at Innovation Labs, told CBS that the robot “was designed from the ground up to be an assistant to the store helper.”