MOORESVILLE, NC – Lowe’s Innovation Labs is rolling out help-on-wheels: two autonomous retail service robots in an Orchard Supply Hardware store in San Jose, CA.
Called OSHbot, the robots can help customers to navigate stores by directing them to specific products. In videos, the robots scan a screw held by a customer, then lead them to a matching screw. While they can access the hardware and lumber supply store's inventory database, they access remote experts to answer specific questions on things like finishes and stains.
“Using science fiction prototyping, we explored solutions to improve customer experiences," said Kyle Nel, executive director of Lowe’s Innovation Labs. "We developed autonomous retail service robot technology to be an intuitive tool customers can use to ask for help.”
Watch the Lowe's robot find a 16 oz hammer.
Lowe's says OSHbot helps its employees by handling the simpler questions, so they can focus on sharing expertise. The robots offer real-time inventory management and can connect with employees in other locations to share know-how and answer customer questions.
OSHbot incorporates scanning technology first developed for the Lowe’s Holoroom home improvement simulator. A customer can bring in a spare part and scan the object using OSHbot’s 3D sensing camera. After scanning and identifying the object, OSHbot will provide product information to the customer and help guide them to its location on store shelves.
The OSHbot was developed in partnership between Lowe’s Innovation Labs and Fellow Robots, initiated through SU Labs, a Singularity University program that connects corporate innovation teams with startups. Marco Mascorro, CEO of Fellow Robots. “With OSHbot, we’ve worked closely with Lowe’s Innovation Labs to take autonomous retail service robot technology out of the sandbox."
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