Lowe’s Innovation Labs and Fellow Robots company build the sales assistant robots- the OSHbots – that are designed to not only identify and locate merchandise, but to speak to customers in their own languages.
Currently two Oshbot robot sales assistants are being trialed at an Orchard Supply Hardware store in San Jose, California.
Standing 5 ft (152 cm) high and weighing 85 lb (38.5 kg), the OSHbot looks like a white pillar with a couple of flat screens stuck on front and back. In its “head” is a 3D scanner that can detect and identify a human body standing in front of it and a smart laser sensor, along with a second in the base, for collision avoidance.
To tackle the task at hand, the robot features wireless networking, voice recognition, product information and location, inventory integration and design prototyping. When first turned on it can spend an evening roaming the store while using the scanning technology created for the Lowe’s Holoroom home improvement simulator to build up a map for autonomous navigation. In addition, its 3D camera can identify objects for customers and help locate them.
Lowe’s points out that the OSHbot provides information in real time about products and inventory and, being, a sales robot, pushes store promotions. It speaks several languages and can connect to live employees if enquiries are beyond the robot’s ability. It can also help with inventory management and allow employees to communicate between stores.