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The startup behind Walmart’s shelf-scanning robots

Earlier this week, Walmart announced a wide-scale expansion of in-store technology. The news came, of course, as the superstore chain is fighting Amazon’s encroachment with everything it has. The list includes several robotics technologies — a category in which Amazon has been invested for several years, beginning with the acquisition of Kiva systems in 2012.
Pittsburgh startup Bossa Nova Robotics has been a big player in Walmart’s ambitions for a while now, as well. Back in 2017, the retail giant announced that it would be rolling out Bossa Nova’s shelf-scanning robots in 50 of its stores.
We paid a visit to the company on a recent trip to the Steel City. The company’s out-of-the-way headquarters are housed in a massive warehouse. Past the nondescript front offices, where employees work at computers, is a cavernous area that’s home to a workshop for iterating its robots, coupled with large aisles of shelves designed to mimic the stores where the technologies will eventually be deployed.
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