Telexistence – a robot helper in Japanese retail

The trade has suffered a lot in recent months. Since the emergence of the pandemic, business has changed fundamentally. People quickly lose sight of the future of retail and forget to focus on a vision for the future. But the development of stationary retail trade does not stand still in all countries. In August, for the first time in Japan, a robot vaguely resembling a kangaroo will stack sandwiches, drinks and ready meals on the shelves of a grocery store.

Robots at work – shelf stacking ‘kangaroo bot’ (Source: Sharjah24 News)


In cooperation with various retailers in Japan, including the FamilyMart chain, the robots from Telexistence are entering the test phase. The aim is to convince other dealers of the advantages of automation and show them the potential of the robot helpers. If the test is successful, the FamilyMart retail chain would like to deploy robot assistants in 20 of its stores by 2022. To enable the robot’s artificial intelligence to learn, telexistence robots are initially controlled by humans in the early stages and learn independently from this experience.

The start-up company that brings telexistence to the Japanese market has strong supporters. Among others, they have received funding from the technology investment company Softbank Group and the mobile phone provider KDDI in Japan. Especially the unusual appearance of the robot should help the shoppers in the shops to feel comfortable around robots. If it would look too human, such different studies often lead to irritation of the buyer or user.

The company, which is now starting in retail, has a bigger goal. Even though robots are far from being part of the familiar image of cities and shops, this is set to change in the next few years. The developers of Telexistence want to bring it to hospitals and other institutions as the next step, in order to make even better use of the advantages of automatic helpers.


Post picture: Telexistence

Alexander Pinker
Alexander Pinker
Alexander Pinker is an innovation profiler, future strategist and media expert who helps companies understand the opportunities behind technologies such as artificial intelligence for the next five to ten years. He is the founder of the consulting firm "Alexander Pinker - Innovation Profiling", the innovation marketing agency "innovate! communication" and the news platform "Medialist Innovation". He is also the author of three books and a lecturer at the Technical University of Würzburg-Schweinfurt.

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