The Family Mart ( Konbini ) Remote VR Robots will be controlled by human employees via virtual reality.
In Japan, Family Mart’s get a lot of foot traffic. The salary man or woman regularly stops by one of these konbini’s to grab a bite to eat or something to drink. Aside from all the delicious offerings, soon we will see robots as a staple.
The convenience store chain recently announced a partnership with a Tokyo-based robotics firm called Telexistence. This strategic partnership is one with hopes of reducing operating costs and improved efficiency. The stores will also be stocked with Telexistence technology for better tracking of items stocked and sold and the frequency in which these items are bought and sold.
What this project is essentially doing is turning Family Mart’s into giant vending machines. Products will eventually be automatically replaced after a customer selects an item for purchase. Humans will operate these robots at a separate location. This will also help with their ability to be more flexible with their employees and hiring. Some locations have a shortage of staff and as such are unable to fill positions. So this way someone for example in Fukuoka could operate Remote VR Robots in Tokyo.
The robots will be tested out in selected FamilyMart locations in Tokyo this summer, with an aim to have them installed in at least 20 stores by 2022.
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