Retail-giant Walmart has recently filed a patent which details the use of drones designed to move products inside stores.
According to the patent, an airborne drone will be dispatched to fetch an item located within a retail shopping facility and bring it back to the delivery area within the store.
Walmart says that the modern retail environment has significant scope to improve customer experience. Customers often need assistance and employees might not always be around to help. Delay in responding to customers can create dissatisfaction, resulting in bad experiences.
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This is where drones could fill the gap. When customers find it difficult to locate a particular item in the store, an intelligent drone could help the customer in locating it, or it could even bring the item to the customer.
It also stated that ‘brick and mortar’ stores are facing fierce competition from online retail companies and in order to be competitive, there is a need to improve the overall customer experience and convenience.
However, introducing drones indoors also poses safety concerns. For the safety of customers, the patent stated that the flying path of the drones will be separate from that of the customers and employees.
The drones will be equipped with sensors and 3D map technology to ensure that they stay on their designated space. The drones are expected to fly above shelves rather than on aisles to avoid accidents with customers.
There will also be a central computer which will oversee how the drones are going around in a store.
Walmart said in its patent application: “So configured, one or more items of inventory can be relatively quickly and efficiently moved from one part of the retail shopping facility to other part of the retail shopping facility.”
“This can include moving items of inventory between non-public and public areas of retail shopping facility.”