Not that I really shop at Walmart these days, but I have to wonder how often the company is going to get sued when they let drones loose in their stores and they inevitably malfunction, dropping an item on a guest’s head or flying into somebody. The drones would supposedly fly directly over shelves and avoid the aisles, but the patent doesn’t rule out humans and flying delivery assistants crossing paths.
The retail giant was granted a patent this week for a system in which drones would shuttle products between different departments inside its stores. The idea is to free customers from having to walk across its super-sized emporiums to find what they want and from having to wait while employees return from far-away storerooms. Ultimately, Walmart believes that drones "can greatly improve the customer experience without overburdening the human associates of the facility." Waiting, the filing said, "can contribute to reduced customer satisfaction."