At an office in HSR Layout, a boxshaped robot, mounted with a tablet, moves along the office floor while avoiding objects. As it detects a human face, it stops to greet and introduce itself: “Greetings, I’m Spod. I’m here to help you shop.”
Spod is an artificial intelligence-enabled robotic shopping assistant that visitors to supermarkets may well see in near future. At its maker’s office, Spod, still under development, manages to detect faces, greet people, introduce itself, take inputs and navigate itself. This comes close on the heels of a humanoid being deployed as a waiter at a restaurant in Shivamogga, Karnataka.
According to its makers, Spod can typically be deployed at either inventories of large e-commerce firms or at supermarkets. When customers walk into a grocery store, the robot will scan their face via a tablet mounted on it and detect if they have visited earlier. It will detect the gender and rough age of the customer, and based on these inputs, suggest products.
Customers can speak to the robot and ask for a particular product. The robot will then navigate to the right shelf. Spod comes fitted with a basket that will remove the need for customers to carry a shopping basket around. Customers will be able to get details of a products, including discounts and offers, from Spod’s tablet. Spod can also provide remote assistance. If a customer requires expert advice, the robot can connect them to a field expert via video call.
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