Walmart adding almost 4,000 new “smart assistants” to its US stores
This Tuesday, Walmart announced that it will be adding thousands of new robots to its stores in an effort to reduce costs and worker turnover, and to increase efficiency. The company expects to deploy autonomous floor scrubbers in 1,860 of its more than 4,700 US stores. The other “smart assistants” include Walmart’s “Auto-S” shelf scanning robot, which will deployed in 350 stores, and an unloading robot that automatically scans boxes as they are delivered and sorts them by department onto conveyor belts.
Walmart believes that using robots for “reapeatable, predictable and manual” tasks in stores will allow employees to spend more time on customer service tasks and selling merchandise to customers. Walmart has been testing this technology in its stores for over a year now and this expansion indicates that the company has so far seen positive results. Its “Auto-C” bot – a 920-pound self-driving floor scrubber- has been successfully tested in 360 stores. It uses automated technology to navigate its way through the store and to mop floors, while it relies on sensors to scan for and detect people and aisles. The “Auto-S” bot travels round the store, checking stocks and the accuracy of prices and labels.
For more information on this, click here.
Australia approves world-first drone home delivery service
Since 2014, Google’s parent company Alphabet has been testing its drone technology in Australia, hoping to streamline package deliveries. After successful trials in the area, Alphabet’s subsidiary, called Wing, is launching its first drone delivery service in the Australian capital of Canberra. It will deliver a range of goods from local businesses to local customers via a mobile application in just a few minutes.
Over the last 18 months, Alphabet has completed over 3,000 trial deliveries for goods such as takeaway food, drinks, coffee and items from the chemist. Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has finally granted the company approval to proceed with its commercial drone operations. However, there are a few limitations: For instance, the drones are not allowed to fly over major roads and must remain a certain distance from people on the ground. Delivery recipients have been advised to remain at least 2 meters away from the drone, while the aircraft lowers the package via a drop line from a seven meter height. The delivery service will initially be available to customers in the suburbs of Crace, Palmerston and Franklin.
You can read more about this development here.
US proposes tariffs on $11 bn of EU goods in retaliation to Airbus subsidies
The Trump Administration recently moved toward imposing tariffs on $11 billion in EU imports, in retaliation to the bloc’s subsidies for European aircraft manufacturer Airbus. A World Trade Organization (WTO) report found that “EU subsidies to high-value, twin-aisle aircraft have caused serious prejudice to US interests.”
The case against these unfavorable Airbus subsidies has been in litigation at the WTO for 14 years and the US said it was releasing a list of items proposed for tariffs in anticipation of a WTO ruling. US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said their “ultimate goal is to reach an agreement with the EU to end all WTO-inconsistent subsidies to large civil aircraft” and that the tariffs would be lifted when the EU puts a stop to Airbus subsidies. Trade tensions between the US and EU are sure to increase after the move. In March, the EU won a round in its counter-case against US subsidies for Airbus competitor Boeing. As a result, the EU is now set on track to compile its own list of tariffs against US goods and services. The proposed US tariff list includes a number of civil aviation products as well as nonaviation items, from cheese to bicycles.
Click here for a more detailed report.
Have a nice weekend.