Walmart's Future May Include In-Store Drone Assistants And Smart Shopping Carts
Walmart has filed for a number of patents for devices that might, if widely adopted, reshape not only the company's retail operations, but the shopping experience overall.
The patent filings include smart shopping carts, more sophisticated inventory trackers, wearable tech for employees and perhaps most dramatic (at least for Walmart shoppers), in-store drones, CNBC reports.
"A user of the mobile electronic device can summon the aerial drone by submitting a request for assistance ... once summoned, the aerial drone can provide assistance to the user in the form of price verification or navigation assistance," the patent filing for drone assistance reads.
That drones might someday deliver goods isn't news, but in-store drone assistants —especially in large stores like Walmart — are a fairly new idea.
JLL predicts drones will likely be used by retailers in stores before they are flying to deliver goods. Similarly to how drones are being used elsewhere in commercial real estate, experts predict retailers will increasingly turn to drones within the next decade to secure warehouses and secure store perimeters through video.
Walmart has also applied for a patent for a floating warehouse that would use drones extensively.
Walmart's smart shopping cart would be equipped with sensors for a variety of purposes, including moving the cart from place to place without human assistance.