Retail

The 'LoweBot' Is Ready For Duty

Meet the LoweBot. Home improvement retailer Lowe's is rolling it out in 11 stores in the San Francisco Bay area (of course) over the next seven months.

What is a LoweBot?

Mostly, the result of a partnership between Lowe's Innovation Labs and Silicon Valley’s Fellow Robots. The unlikely partners were paired up through Singularity University’s SULab program, which connects corporate innovation teams with startups and other organizations pursuing new technologies.

And while Elon Musk might worry some — another step toward the robot apocalypse and all — the effort is consistent with, and the culmination of, years of works in robotics technology with the aim of improving customer and staff experiences in-store.

As for what the bots will do? That remains a bit in the air. Last year, Lowe's piloted OSHbot at one of Lowe's Orchard Supply Hardware stores. The bilingual robot acted as something of an ambassador to customers — answering (simple) questions, scanning products and providing general customer service. As for how much Lowe's — or any robot-loving retailer — will try to fold robots into daily store functions, like moving inventory and providing customers with additional information on products or sales, remains to be seen, though the Lowe's version does seem to be leaning that way.

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