Telexistence Inc. today announced the mass production of its originally developed artificial intelligence robot, TX SCARA, which will be installed in 300 FamilyMart stores, Japan’s leading convenience store chain in major metropolitan areas, from the end of the month, validating its “robot-as-a-service” solution for food retailers.
TX SCARA was created to perform the specific task of restocking refrigerated shelves with bottles and cans, a repetitive and tedious job usually performed by employees in often uncomfortable environments. TX SCARA can operate 24/7, restocking shelves at a rate of up to 1,000 bottles and cans per day, relying almost entirely on its AI system (known as “GORDON”) to know when and where the products should be placed. the shelves.
The implementation of AI robots in FamilyMart stores will allow retailers to take advantage of the newly created “surplus” of time and savings in the store environment. Retailers can focus on other improvements to the store environment for employees and customers, as well as the profitability of each store.
Tomohiro Kano, General Manager of Store Development Department and Corporate Railway and Franchise Department, FamilyMart, said, “The declining labor force in Japan is one of the major management issues for FamilyMart to maintain stability of store operations.The introduction of Telexistence robots in FamilyMart stores will eliminate the need for store employees to restock beverage refrigerators, and newly created time can be reallocated to customer service and improving the shop floor, which will lead to higher quality store operations”.
Kano concluded, “We will continue to work with Telexistence to create a new way of operating stores.”
This initiative is a small step towards achieving Telexistence’s mission to improve all simple workflows in human society with robots. Telexistence promotes this initiative based on a collaboration with NVIDIA and Microsoft Japan. Specifically, NVIDIA GPU-accelerated AI technologies are integrated into hardware originally developed by Telexistence to provide AI and remote robot control through the Microsoft Azure platform.
“Currently, the biggest limiting factor for any industry, in any nation, is human resources. Especially in developed countries like Japan, the shortage of human labor is quickly becoming evident in the retail and logistics sectors, which support human life in society.“said Jin Tomioka, CEO of Telexistence.”We encourage large-scale production and social implementation of our robots for industries other than factory automation, industries that function as the infrastructure of daily life in society. We will also bring our automated workforce solutions to other regions, such as the United States. »
Tomioka added: “Telexistence’s robots will become a powerful influence, providing a virtually inexhaustible source of new manpower. New excess resources will be appropriately redistributed through market mechanisms, and in the long term this may lead to the transition of human society to be greatly augmented by automated labor.“
TX SCARA is autonomous with GORDON in normal operation. In rare cases where the AI encounters problems due to a miscalculation or external factors such as an object falling or out of place, Telexistence employees located remotely and using glasses VR take control of the robot to correct problems in stores. Each TX SCARA can replace one to three hours per day of human labor in a single store.
The market potential for TX SCARA is vast. In Japan alone, there are 16,000 FamilyMart convenience stores, plus about 40,000 more from other convenience store chains. Telexistence then plans to expand to convenience stores in the United States, where more than half of consumers say they visit one of the country’s 150,000 convenience stores at least once a month.
“Moving from proof of concept to mass production of 300 remote-controlled robots with deep AI capabilities is a major step forward,” notes Tokyo-based Airbus Ventures partner Dr. Lewis Pinault. “As Telexistence’s first investor, we are excited to see the company’s diverse and richly talented team begin to take off, deploy its cutting-edge technology across Japan and activate new channels to support its future expansion. in North America.
Masataka Osaki, Japan Country Director and Vice President of Enterprise Sales, NVIDIA: “Entire industries are transforming as customers create their next generation of cutting-edge robotics and artificial intelligence applications on NVIDIA platforms. Aimed to empower retailers to address labor shortages Telexistence’s robotic solution, powered by NVIDIA’s GPU-accelerated technologies, will improve experiences for retail and employee customers.”
Tomoko Mikami, General Manager, Small, Medium and Large Enterprises, Microsoft Japan Co., Ltd. : “Microsoft Japan will collaborate globally with Telexistence in terms of cloud platform and business development in the implementation of artificial intelligent robotics for the qualitative improvement of the industry, as promoted by Telexistence. We are delighted that our platform can contribute to this project, and Microsoft will continue to support the project to have a significant impact not only in the Japanese market but also globally.”