The Skolkovo resident AI and robotics company Promobot is to supply one of its robots to Lider Hiper, a Chilean supermarket chain owned by the American retail giant Walmart. The robot is to act as a consultant for customers at one of the chain's retail outlets.
The Lider Hiper outlet is located in Santiago, Chile, and the consultant robot will offer a number of services including information about special offers, promotions, product availability and pricing. The robot speaks in Spanish, Portuguese, and English and has learned a catalogue of 120,000 products that includes food products, children’s goods, building materials, household cleaning goods, and other products. According to its Promobot creators, this represents the largest amount of data used by a single robot in the world. Its usability in the Spanish-, Portuguese- and English-speaking worlds gives the device access to large markets in Europe and both North and South America.
In a press release posted on the company website, Promobot quoted Patricio Dallan, the vice president of logistics at Walmart Chile: “We are moving towards automating business processes in our supermarkets around the world. Our mission is to move employees away from common tasks and give those to technologies such as robots and artificial intelligence. It allows employees to be happier and more efficient, and customers will get a guaranteed service and the unusual experience of interacting with a robot. For us it’s important that families with kids feel that in our shops they are being looked after by both robots and people.”
As part of this collaboration, Russian developers modernized the Promobot robot’s obstacle detection sensors, which have been specially customized in accordance to Walmart’s requirements; tests went on for several months, taking place both in Russia and in Chile.
Promobot’s development director Oleg Kivokurtsev stated that, “In order to maximize the safety of the robot’s movements and automation, our engineers have created unique obstacle detection sensors. They are faster, more accurate and reliable than anything else on the market. We hope that thanks to this collaboration with Walmart, we can scale-up this development for other Promobot robots in any country in the world. It is a huge success to test Russian inventions with the most famous retailer in the world.”
Promobot was founded in the city of Perm in 2015 and has been a Skolkovo resident since then. Today, Promobot is one of the largest producers of automated service robots in Europe. Promobot service robots are in 40 countries around the world, working as administrators, promoters, consultants, guides, and concierges, replacing or adding to “living” workers. They can also be found in Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank, the State Central Museum of Contemporary History of Russia, in Baltimore-Washington International Airport, and in The Dubai Mall.