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Drone helpers coming to a Walmart near you

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If there is an overriding takeaway for readers of many of our UAV articles – it is that drones are having a big impact on the world of work.

Construction, architecture, agriculture, photography, transportation are just some of the sectors of the economy where drone technology is making waves. But what about jobs that involve human contact? Like shop assistants?

According to Forbes, Walmart, which employees some 2.3 million Americans and has revenues of around 500 billion per year, recently filed patents to implement drone helpers to assist shopper in their stores.

How will it work?

When a would-be Walmart shopper arrives at their local store (which let’s face it, are everywhere), they can be provided with a tablet or mobile phone on which to select the goods they wish to buy. The table or phone then communicates with a drone on standby in the store which will fly to the various aisles and help the shopper find what they are looking for.

Walmart’s patent application included the following statement: “If, for example, the user has requested navigation assistance to an item selected from a virtual shopping list on the mobile electronic device, the computing device can control the aerial drone to provide navigation assistance to guide the user to the location of the selected item.”

So basically, instead of asking an employee in a shop the drone can fly and show you to what you are looking for?

Questions we have:

How many of these drones would be in any one store?

That is not yet known. You could envision it being a bit of a mess, not to mention loud, if dozens of drones were flying to fetch goods at the same time.

Will these drones result in employees losing jobs?

Walmart has a history of terrible labor practices, including strongly discouraging workers at their branches across the United States from joining a union, suppressing wages and not giving workers . Whether this concept will ultimately result in more workers losing their jobs, remains to be seen.

Do you think this is a useful idea? Will you be using it?

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