Robot janitors will soon be scrubbing the floors at your local Walmart

Robot janitors are coming soon to a Walmart near you.

While we rather like the idea of a team of androids making their way around the store with a mop and bucket, the reality isn’t quite as cool as that.

Instead, the company is using something that looks a bit like an oversized mobility scooter. A self-driving one. You might also think of it as a giant Roomba.

The autonomous janitor is the work of San Diego, California-based Brain Corp., and Walmart is aiming to have 360 of them working at its stores within a couple of months. The imminent launch follows successful testing of the machine at some of its stores in 2017.

Interestingly, the robots may be deployed when customers are around, so look out for one next time you visit. According to Brain Corp., the robot uses multiple sensors to scan its surroundings for people and obstacles, so if it does get too close, the worst you can expect is an impromptu shoe shine.

As you can see from the video above, the self-driving floor scrubber comes with a seat, but it’s not for a safety driver. Or for kids to play on.

Instead, it allows an employee to quickly map a route during an initial ride that trains the vehicle. After that, it’s simply a case of hitting a button to activate the machine’s autonomous cleaning mode to send it on its way.

John Crecelius, Walmart’s vice president of central operations, described the robot as “a powerful tool” that can take care of monotonous tasks so that the ecompany’s human staff can spend more time engaging with customers.

Brain Corp. CEO Eugene Izhikevich said his company’s technology “allows robots to effectively and safely function in complex, crowded environments, ensuring increased productivity and efficiency.”

Walmart has been increasing its efforts to embrace cutting-edge technology in a bid to improve its business. Besides the robot janitors, it’s also using virtual reality headsets with specially designed training videos to help enhance the skills of store employees.

It has also launched an automated in-store Pickup Tower — think of it as a giant vending machine — from which customers can collect their online orders.

Looking ahead, the giant retailer currently testing product-picking robots for online grocery orders, and has even patented a high-tech shopping cart that must surely be the most amazing one ever designed. Whether it ever sees the light of day, however, is another question entirely.

Smart Home

Amazon shows off compact cashier-free store that could show up at airports

Amazon is testing its smallest Amazon Go store to date as it considers taking the grab-and-go technology to new venues such as airports and train stations. The compact store is a quarter the size of its current locations.
Deals

Check out the best Xbox One deals and bundles for December 2018

Microsoft's consoles are just as capable of streaming movies as they are of playing the latest games. Check out our top Xbox One deals and bundles, which include new and upcoming triple-A games like Battlefield V and Fallout 76.
Emerging Tech

The 20 best tech toys for kids will make you wish you were 10 again

Looking for the perfect toy or gadget for your child? Thankfully, we've rounded up some of our personal favorite tech toys, including microscopes, computer kits, and a spherical droid from a galaxy far, far away.
Cars

Ford’s new Shelby GT500 Mustang will have 3D-printed brake parts

Ford's new $45 million Advanced Manufacturing Center will focus on emerging technologies, including 3D printing. One of the staff's first jobs is to print parts for the 700-horsepower Shelby GT500 Mustang.
Emerging Tech

Warm ski beanie instantly hardens into a head-protecting helmet upon impact

Wool hats are way more comfortable than hard helmets. You know what they're not? Safer. That could soon change, thanks to an innovative new ski beanie which instantly hardens upon impact.
Deals

Take to the skies with these 5 drones on sale for under $50

On the hunt for some cool tech for under $50? We've rounded up 5 drones under $50 that you can still get before Christmas. These models are great for kids, adults, and anyone just getting started with drones.
Emerging Tech

With this robotic garage, retrieving your car is like using a vending machine

Remembering where we parked our cars can be a real pain. But what if our cars came to find us, rather than the other way around? A new automated robot parking valet system aims to help.
Cars

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…
Emerging Tech

A lidar-equipped truck knows exactly how much de-icer to apply on roads

Lidar is best known as the laser-based technology that helps self-driving cars sense their surroundings. But the city of Knoxville has another, more seasonal use for it: De-icing roads.
Emerging Tech

This unusual nature-inspired robot is equally at home on land or in the water

This intriguing, nature-inspired robot may look unusual, but it's impressively capable of moving on both land and water without problem. Heck, it can even travel on ice if necessary.
Emerging Tech

This cryptocurrency wallet for kids isn’t nearly as stupid as it sounds

So you’ve taught your 6-year-old child to read, write, and play nice with others. What’s next? Give them a base understanding of cryptocurrency, of course. This Kickstarter aims to help.
Emerging Tech

Light, speed: Lighting kit for DJI Mavic 2 lets you fly and film in the dark

Lume Cube, maker of small battery-powered LED lights for mobile photography, has announced a new lighting kit built specifically for the DJI Mavic 2 -- the first of its kind. Already our favorite drone, this makes the Mavic 2 even better.
Emerging Tech

Prepare for liftoff: Here are all the important upcoming SpaceX rocket launches

From ISS resupply missions to a host of communication and scientific satellite launches, SpaceX has a busy year ahead. Here's a rundown of some of the company's most important missions slated for the next year.
Emerging Tech

Virgin Galactic’s latest test flight takes it to the edge of space

Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic has successfully carried out its fourth powered flight in Mojave, California. It was the company's most ambitious test flight yet -- and bodes well for the future.