Walmart Uses Robotics Startup to Test Mobile Vending Machines

Tech startup Tortoise first brought its remotely controlled robots as an ultra-fast delivery solution to corporations like Instacart, but with the collapse of several grocery players, the company is now testing its “floating” robots as mobile vending machines. The company’s first large-scale national partnership is with Walmart. The discount giant will be using the mobile robots to deliver to shoppers waiting for curbside pickup in the parking lot. The robots serve as vending machines that can drive right up to a buyer’s vehicle. Once a shopper types in and pays with a credit card, the lid of their item opens. Dmitry Shevelenko, co-founder and chairman of Tortoise, said the robots are good for consumers because they will prevent impulse purchases that normally happen with in-store shopping. Aside from Walmart, Tortoise will be deploying their robots at sports venues and conferences, giving attendees a quick, frictionless purchase of snacks and drinks. Walmart is hoping that the robotic vending machines will help them to regain some of the revenue they lost during the 2020 pandemic.