Walmart trials stock-checking drones in its warehouses

Drones may be better at scanning boxes than people.


Few jobs are more monotonous than counting inventory all day, every day. Maybe that's why Walmart is thinking about farming the job out to drones. The retailer is running tests to see if camera equipped drones can help speed up inventory counts in its distribution centers. So far, results are promising -- during a recent demo of the technology, Walmart said that the drones could potentially do a month's worth of human labor in a single day.

That's a bold claim, but it's hardly far-fetched. Right now, taking inventory of a Walmart warehouse means having a team of workers manually scan stock by hand -- slowly using forklifts and ladders to reach higher shelved products. The drone, on the other hand, can quickly sweep isles with a high speed camera, snapping as many as 30 images per second. If Walmart's test proves the program to be reliable, it could save the company millions. That said, it'll be a little while before that's a reality: testing is expected to continue for another 6-9 months.

[Image Credit: Reuters]