A new bilingual customer service robot at Lowe’s hardware store shows users where to find specific items in-store by rolling around and taking them there itself.
LoweBot, which has been spotted around several San Francisco Bay Area stores, wanders through aisles and approaches people, asking whether it can be of any service, and uses a series of cameras and lasers to navigate the shop.
“I’m Lowe’s Robot helper. I can tell you where things are in the store,” announces the robot as it approaches customers. “Can I help you find something?”
The robot, which was originally unveiled earlier this year, can frequently find items for customers with ease– leading one person to the hammer aisle without any problems in a CBS demonstration video.
Other requests, however, can be slightly more problematic.
One customer asked the robot where he could find soda, prompting the machine to return a search for “drain cleaner.” The robot only understood the customer’s request after he asked specifically for Pepsi.
“Beginning in the fall of 2016, Lowe’s is introducing LoweBot, a NAVii autonomous retail service robot by Fellow Robots, in eleven Lowe’s Stores throughout the San Francisco Bay area,” declared Lowe’s on their official innovation labs website. “After a successful two-year pilot of OSHbot in an Orchard Supply Hardware store, Lowe’s has realized how beneficial these retail service robots can be for customers and employees alike.”
“For the customer, LoweBot is able to find products in multiple languages and effectively navigate the store. As LoweBot helps customers with simple questions, it enables employees to spend more time offering their expertise and specialty knowledge to customers,” they continued. “Furthermore, LoweBot is able to assist with inventory monitoring in real-time, which helps detect patterns that might guide future business decisions. LoweBot is set to roll out in phases over a seven-month period beginning in September in San Jose, California.”
Lowe’s appear to be using the robot for advertising too, with the screens on LoweBot’s back showing digital advertisements as it takes customers to their item location.