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Cleanup in Aisle 7! Certain supermarkets in the Northeast are embracing the future of supermarket spills with a robot named "Marty," whose sole purpose is to roll around grocery stores and announce messes in two languages (English and Spanish) to employees. To make him more personable, he's got big googly eyes and an eternal smile glued to the side of his tower-like shell. We'd be lying if we said we didn't instantly fall in love with that grin. In essence, Marty is a bit like the next step in Roomba evolution, albeit with no actual cleaning capabilities. Nevertheless, his constant patrolling of the shelved corridors makes you feel like you're walking around the Death Star with its MSE-6-series repair droids always roving about.
First announced back in January, 220 Martys (out of a projected 325) have been introduced to Stop & Shop, Giant, and Martin's locations as part of a partnership between Retail Business Services and Badger Technologies. The latter is a product division of Jabil, while the supermarket brands are owned by Ahold Delhaize, an international retailer based in the Netherlands.
“As part of our continued focus on technology transformation, we’re pleased to support one of the most significant deployments of robotics innovation in the grocery retail industry,” said Paul Scorza, EVP and Chief Information Officer for Retail Business Services. “Several companies in the grocery retail space have recently begun testing or using in-store robots – something Retail Business Services and the local brands we serve have been doing for some time. We’re pleased to support the GIANT/MARTIN’S and Stop & Shop brands as they now lead the industry from test to large-scale usage of robots and to see the benefits the technology continues to drive for their businesses.”
Check out Marty in action in the tweets below:
"The in-store robots, named Marty, were easily recognized by customers in stores by their friendly appearance where they were tested and used to identify hazards, such as liquid, powder and bulk food item spills and provide reporting that enables corrective action. They help stores mitigate risk caused by such spills, as well as enabled associates to spend more time serving and interfacing with customers," reads the official release about the initiative. "Marty has made trips to local schools to discuss robotics with students to help drive interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math)."
“We are excited to be part of this industry-leading rollout of fully autonomous robots that collect safety data while traversing retail stores,” added Frederic McCoy, SVP, Jabil Retail. “Real-time hazard alerts empower stores to resolve incidents like spills, as well as improve operations.”
Founded in 1914 (the year World War I began in Europe), Stop & Shop is a chain of 86 supermarkets limited to the northeastern United States.