Wal-Mart's Robot Shopping Carts Are Coming for Us All - NBC Chicago

Wal-Mart's Robot Shopping Carts Are Coming for Us All

The patent included drawings of what they might look like, but noted that some elements were simplified and exaggerated for clarity



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    US Patent Office
    A drawing from Wal-Mart's granted patent for a system of automated shopping carts.

    Wal-Mart customers will be able to use a handheld device to summon an empty cart and have it whisked their way via "motorized transport unit," according to Wal-Mart's patent, granted last week. The customer's location is determined by optical sensors in the device which will receive information from smart LEDs in the store, NBC News reported.

    The system's "central control circuit" will also track shopping cart idle times to see which ones are not being used and implement image sensors to make sure they're empty.

    And the carts will even be able to return themselves.