Robotics startup Myrmex plans to introduce a fully automated grocery pickup system to the mass market. One aspect shared by all grocery pickup solutions, including Shipt, Instacart and AmazonFresh, as well as pickup services provided by Walmart and Kroger, is that the process is a manual operation. The lack of automation keeps costs high and service windows reduced—forcing the customer to pick up items in a tight, preselected time slot.
“Customers are increasingly looking at digital in the quest for greater grocery shopping convenience,” said Myrmex Founder Ioannis Kanellos. “Myrmex goes a step further by leveraging the power of mobile robotic units and arm manipulators to deliver online orders faster than ever.”
Kanellos shifted his focus away from leading projects with firms like GE to work on a solution for grocery pickup. The result is Myrmex’s unmanned grocery pickup system featuring what the company says is a service as convenient as an ATM cash withdrawal. The system, which has two U.S. patents, utilizes mobile robotic units and mini loads around racked roll cages to wheel grocery containers right to the customer.
With Myrmex, grocery orders could be ready seconds after customers arrive at the pickup point any time of day or night, the company says.
“Our system’s lowered operational expenses allow grocers to offer it as a free-of-charge service—thus leading to noticeable increases in their online sales,” Kanellos said.
Myrmex is in contact with British online grocer Ocado for early trial runs in its delivery chain. Ocado and The Kroger Co. have partnered to build automated fulfillment centers in the U.S.
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