This Candy-Selling Robot Wants to Follow You Around the Grocery Store

A photo of the Mars Smiley robot.
RIS News, Marco Ohmer/Shutterstock

You know how there’s always a bunch of candy around the checkout line at grocery stores? Well, what if that candy could follow you around the store while you shop? That’s the idea behind the Mars Wrigley candy company’s new Smiley robot, an AI-powered salesman loaded with M&M’s and Snickers.

Developed by a company called Savioke, the Smiley robot uses a LiDAR sensor to navigate through grocery stores and track customers. When a customer comes within four feet of the robot, it stops in place, makes a noise, and shows a notice on its display. If a customer feels the impulse to buy some candy, they can pick some off the robot and throw it in their shopping cart.

Mars Wrigley is testing Smiley at a ShopRite store in Monroe, New York. The store, which was recently renovated with wide aisles, seems to be the perfect place for a candy stand on wheels to roll around. Even if Smiley doesn’t improve candy sales, the robot keeps track of customer behavior around the store, providing valuable data that could maximize the layout or stock of a store.

In an interview with RIS News, a Mars Wrigley representative stated that Smiley could provide insight into impulse shopping decisions and customers’ relationships with robots. While Smiley may not become the go-to robotic salesman for grocery stores, it could influence how retailers use AI, and especially robotics, in the future.

Source: Mars Wrigley via RIS News