Giant, a large grocery chain based in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, is implementing some new technology in their stores. A mobile robot known as Marty will be used in the stores to monitor many things including spilled product. Tim Rowland, CEO of the manufacturer Badger Technologies, says the robot has cameras that can detect spills. The camera is also monitored from a remote control center by humans. Giant decided to move forward after successful pilot projects.
The retailer found that the product will add more efficiency to their operation and enhance its customer service. The pilot testing lasted for approximately a period of one-year. Nicholas Bertram, the president of Giant Food Stores, explained that the device is essentially a combination of “robotics and artificial intelligence” technology. These robots move throughout the store and may detect potential hazards. The program is expected to be implemented in the majority of the company's roughly 170 stores in about a year.
The majority of workers at the retailer are members of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW). President Marc Perrone said that the continual development of automation in grocery and retail stores is a “direct threat” to many workers in the industry. Other retailers including Walmart and Schnucks have been using different types of robot technology in their stores also.
Marty is a component of a larger system known as the Badger Retail Inspect System. The manufacturer claims that the system can recognize hazards including spilled liquid, paper or cardboard, food products, and more. Some of the other capabilities of the system include:
- Generating better quality reports for audit and compliance
- Integrates with cloud-based software and may be integrated with other systems
- Uses firmware within a robotic operating system (ROS)
- Ensuring that auditing and compliance are more consistently conducted
- Improves the safety of customers and store staff
- The system archives data with a time and day stamp
- It can be used to evaluate that the store is complying with their planogram
- The cameras are high resolution and allow for navigation
- A battery that will last for a period of 12-hours before needing to be recharged
Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR)
LiDAR is a technology that uses beams of laser light to assess and measure objects. The light is sent and then reflects off various objects that are recognized by a sensor. The sensor is able to determine key data including distance.
Liability for Slip and Falls Accident Injuries
Those who are injured in slip and fall accidents may hold those responsible for the creation of a hazardous condition. These types of accidents may involve uneven flooring or pavement, snow and ice, torn carpeting, and much more. Older adults and younger children are generally the most prone to falling and may incur significant injuries.
Property owners or controllers generally have a duty to warn people when dangerous conditions exist. Common examples include customers of grocery stores who slip on spilled liquid or visitors to an apartment complex who slip on icy walkways. In retail stores, the owner or manager may be liable when an individual slips if they were aware (or should have been) that a hazardous condition existed.