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Will Future Technology Put Slip-And-Falls In The Past?

In movie lore, famous robots have battled everything from homicidal criminals to planet-destroying empires.

Marty is a robot whose enemies may not be as dangerous as emperors and murderers. Yet, he and 499 of his same-named counterparts are still committed to keeping the public safe, particularly when it comes to slippery surfaces on store floors.

The googly-eyed, wheeled avengers come courtesy of Badger Technologies and play an important role in alerting grocery store employees of potential slip-and-fall dangers to customers.

Marty Making Shoppers Safer

CEO Tim Rowland boasts that one of eight cameras on Marty monitor both floors and shelves. Once they detect a possible spill via laser-based “lidar” sensors, human verification takes over. Staff located in a Philippines-based control center double-check the images sent to them.

Upon verification, a clean-up message notifies employees of a cleanup in one of the store’s aisles. Marty remains at the scene, watching over the spill until an employee presses a button that acknowledges removal of the hazard.

A shopper fearing an ironic “trip and fall” over the “slip and fall detectors” need not worry. The robot can also “see” customers and will pause their activity to ensure safe passage.

The friendly robot invasion started with 25 located at various Giant, Martin’s and Stop & Shop stores. Thirty more will be added on a weekly basis with all 172 Giant stores eventually housing their own robot. Rowland is also looking to expand Marty’s responsibilities through repurposing that will help with the inventory monitoring.

While Marty has many allies, enemies are at the gate. Unions representing some of the stores are pushing back over what they see as “aggressive expansion of automation” that may threaten the jobs of their members.

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