Lowe’s Is Testing Retail Robots Called OSHBot At San Jose Store

Customers shopping at an Orchard Supply Hardware store in San Jose, California will be in for a surprise when they see an autonomous retail service robot come up to them and ask if they need assistance. Lowe’s will be introducing two robots, called OSHbot, to the store in order to study how robotics technology will be able to benefit both customers and employees.

The OSHbot, designed at Lowe’s Innovation Labs, will be able to direct customers to specific products and provide real-time information about product promotions and inventory. They also come equipped with 3D-scanning technology so that a person will be able to bring in a spare part, scan the part under the OSHbot’s 3D sensing scanner, and the robot will identify the part and provide the necessary information. Lowe’s also says that, in coming months, the OSHbot will be able to communicate with customers in multiple languages and remotely connect with employees at other Orchard stores to help answer project questions.

“Using science fiction prototyping, we explored solutions to improve customer experiences by helping customers quickly find the products and information they came in looking for,” said Lowe’s Innovation Labs executive director Kyle Nel. “As a result we developed autonomous retail service robot technology to be an intuitive tool customers can use to ask for help, in their preferred language, and expect a consistent experience.”

According to Lowe’s, the robots will also provide an extra layer of support for employees by helping customers with simple questions, provide real-time inventory management, and connect with employees at other store locations.