Walmart Is Looking at a Self-Driving Shopping Cart


     As if there weren’t enough things in this world for the ever-increasing lazy population in this country, apparently Walmart is looking at a shopping cart that you won’t even have to push around in a store.   Yes, a robot shopping cart that follows you around.  No word on what happens if you take it home and use it as a makeshift barbeque in the back yard (not that anyone ever does that with shopping carts…) but maybe it’s programmed to self-destruct if you take it past the parking lot.

     I guess the utopian future we’re heading towards is one where you tell the cart “I need some detergent, milk and eggs” and it parks in front of the shelf, a robotic arm pushes the product in your cart and then it checks it self out at a self checkout while you wait comfortably in your car.    You probably got to the parking lot in your self-driving Google car, so I guess it all fits.   I hope the car knows where the gym is, because you’re going to need it.

Walmart, the most ubiquitous of big box stores, reportedly has a plan to make your shopping experience almost as effort-free as shopping from home. They are exploring the possibility of having robot shopping carts that follow you around the store and aid in finding items on your shopping list. 

Perfect for people who drive around in circles for 40 minutes trying to park as close as possible, this is the apex of laziness. And it may actually be the fact that shopping habits are carved by the path of least resistance that is driving this innovation. Last year, Amazon became the most valuable retailer in world, surpassing Walmart. That’s of course driven by the convenience of shopping from your couch in nought but tube socks, if you choose.

Walmart is striking back to make sure that shopping in a physical store is just as free of calorie-burning activity. The shopping cart is being developed by Five Elements Robotics, who have a similar robot called the Budgee. It’s a robot with big blue eyes that looks like it could easily go HAL 9000 when you decide you probably need two cans of frosting, one for the cake and one for your mouth.

“I’m sorry Dustin, I can’t do that.”

Walmart has not responded to a request for comment on the potential project, but Five Elements CEO Wendy Roberts spilled the beans at last week’s Bloomberg Technology Conference, reports ZDNet.

While the retailer isn’t confirming any plans publicly, their intention of investing in technology to push back against online retailers is clear. They’ve revamped their website for easier online purchasing, developed app-based self check-outs and have invested in drones to help do work in their warehouses.

The future is now super lazy. But whatever, Go get me some deep-fried twinkies, Shopping Cart.