Walmart Adds Robotic Hawkers

Walmart has been automating for a long time, and you may have seen robots in their stores if you’re a Walmart shopper. Maybe you don’t go into their stores, though. Maybe you are one of the growing number of shoppers who order things and drive to the store for pickup (Buy Online and Pickup In Store, or BOPIS, to use their jargon). If so, you may soon have a chance to see robots in the parking lot.

Walmart isn’t sending robots out to cars with the goods loaded on their backs, though that seems like a logical thing to do. Instead, they are sending robotic vending machines out to tempt waiting customers to make the kind of impulse buys they might make if they were inside waiting in a check out line.

The robots offer items like chocolate or beef jerky. Customers can pay with a card and the robot will disgorge their treat.

Tortoise robots

Tortoise makes the machines. They made burrito vending versions for Comic-Con and plan to feed people at the Stanley Cup as well. In fact, Tortoise is best known for its participation in sporting events and such. They had planned to work on grocery delivery applications, but recently turned to what they’re calling “mobile stores.”

“Vending machines on wheels” is a more common description from observers, but they offer convenience for customers and help retailers retrieve some of the impulse purchase revenue they lose with curbside pickups.

Walmart is testing the Tortoise robots at their flagship store in Bentonville.


Robots have come a long way since Indramat motion control was a game-changing new technology, but many factories still have some Indramat systems at work. When you need service and support for your Indramat systems, contact us for factory repair or reman fast.