When you hear the word autonomous vehicle, a shopping cart probably doesn’t come to mind. Except if you are Walmart.
The company may be planning to roll out a system that allows shopping carts to drive themselves, if a patent recently published by the U.S. government’s Patent Office is any indication.
The patent request, which by the way is no picnic to read through, reveals the carts will be equipped with detachable Roomba-esque motors equipped with sensors and video cameras. Customers will be able to hail a cart using a “user interface device” like their smartphone. They could order a self-driving shopping cart, one would come hither, then navigate through the store. It would also potentially be able to find products using all its tech wizardry.
There’s another benefit, too. The system could put an end to all those stray carts rolling through parking lots. The carts would technically be able to return to a docking station by themselves.
Walmart isn’t saying anything about its plans right now, so we’ll have to wait and see whether these things hit the aisles.