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This robotic technology could be the future of grocery shopping

Posted at 1:20 PM, Feb 28, 2019

Technology used at South Florida grocery chain is taking online grocery shopping to the next level.

The sound of plastic bins flying around on a conveyor belt is music to Javier Herran's ears.

“I refer to it as a symphony of chaos,” Herran says.

The well-oiled machine does all the grocery shopping for you.

“It’s basically a giant vending machine,” Herran describes.

Except this vending machine can hold over 100,000 items for Sedano's supermarkets’ new online ordering platform.

“This is the first automated micro-fulfillment center in the world,” explains Curt Avalon with Takeoff Technology, the company that developed the robotic system.

Instead of an employee walking through a store to manually gather the items in an online order, the machine does all the work. It travels through a system of conveyors and elevators, bringing the shelves to the employees.

"So we can pick an item in about three seconds, where if you're shopping on the sales floor, its 60 to 90 seconds an item,” Avalon says.

That efficiency is what sold Herran, who is Sedano's marketing director.

"We can get an order done in 10 minutes or less versus an hour or hour and a half shopping on the sales floor," Avalon says.

Finished orders are taken to an online pickup area in Sedano’s various stores for customer’s to pick up.

The robot isn’t replacing human jobs. Sedano's says it’s actually adding jobs, since the warehouse must be manned.