Have You Ever Had an Encounter with the Automated Aisle Cleaner at Kroger?
Okay, this thing is hilarious, amazing and slightly frightening. I have watched all The Terminator movies and I am pretty sure this is how the end of times begins. LOL!
I went to Kroger bright and early Sunday morning. Pro tip: If you're looking for the perfect time to do your grocery shopping, go on a Sunday morning and beat the church crowd. Seriously. It's amazing!
Well, Sunday morning was the first time I had been on a Sunday in a long time. Yes, I decided to finally follow the advice of my own pro tip. Since the COVID quarantine I have been using ClickList a lot. When I have gone to the grocery, I have gone right after my show on Monday mornings. Pro Tip #2: Monday mornings are also a FANTASTIC time to hit up the Kroger. Very few shoppers and LOTS of markdowns in the produce department (at least that's been my experience). And side note- Why am I sharing my Pro Tips with you????? Don't be busting all in my business on Sunday and Monday mornings now.
Anyway, back to the grocery store Zamboni! I was on a mission to find canned chicken. Normally, I don't buy meat in a can. I mean, gross. But, my mom's chicken salad recipe calls for it and I want to make it this week. Well, I couldn't find it. Again, I've been ClickListing.
I literally walked around in circles for like ten minutes. All of a sudden, I heard some sort of beeping and what sounded like a street sweeper. I looked up and this thing was barreling down the aisle toward me.
And NO ONE WAS DRIVING IT! Operator free!! Not a human to be found. And get this. When it sensed me, it shut down and just stared at me until I moved. LOL. It was fascinating. I felt like I was in War of the Worlds or staring down a bull in the streets of Pamplona.
Well, when I got home I did a little bit of research and found out this is a T-7 Micro-Rider. I told you it sounded like something out of a Terminator movie. The product is literally the brainchild of San Diego-based Brain Corp. and their partnership with Tennant. This autonomous cleaner was unleashed onto North American in late 2018. And, yes! It's unadulterated Artificial Intelligence. According to an April 2018 article in The RobotReport, "BrainOS uses computer vision and AI libraries to give machines the ability to autonomously navigate their environment."
I can vouch for it. It sized me up in its computer vision and a Kroger employee too. In fact, one of the guys who was stocking shelves that morning had a conversation with the thing. At one point he said, "Come on, Machine! Move." And it did. Right at him.
I have to be honest. It's really cool. But I as I was having my own standoff with it near the olive oils, I did start to wonder if I was going to need to call Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger.