Autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) are fast becoming a familiar sight in DCs around the globe. But it appears they’re about to extend their range beyond just cavernous logistics facilities. The Japanese manufacturer Fuji Corp. recently launched a line of AMRs designed to move inventory carts around retail stores as well.
The “Rally” bots are built to handle the final steps of the retail store replenishment process, moving carts of goods automatically from storerooms to shelving areas—typically after hours. The robots work by recognizing tags attached to delivery carts and automatically moving the goods wherever they’re needed.
According to Fuji, the bot automates a task that currently requires a lot manual labor, freeing up staff to serve customers. And because they can operate in the dark after hours, the robots avoid conflicts with staff and shoppers, further improving productivity.
Fuji says its Rally-model robot can carry loads of up to 770 pounds at a top speed of 1.3 miles per hour. The bot’s compact profile—the unit measures just 15.8 inches wide by 34.7 inches long—allows it to squeeze through narrow aisles in space-constrained facilities.Fuji has been evaluating the design since July 2022 at selected stores of Cainz, a chain of home improvement centers in Japan. The company says its product can handle multiple types of carts that are typically used in retail stores and requires no changes to existing store layout or infrastructure.
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