Walmart to build blockchain controlled autonomous robots
Robots are influencing our daily life like never before. The reliance of humans on the autonomous robots is increasing, and they have become an inseparable part of our life. The advancement in technology has further accelerated the growth and development of autonomous robots.
Many corporates giants have been having multiple on and off flings with the blockchain, but here we have a new MNC planning to work on the blockchain technology. American multinational retail giant, Walmart, has a new crush on the blockchain and plans to build an army of autonomous robots controlled and authenticated by the blockchain.
The move from Walmart comes in response to Amazon’s retail market capitalization. The plan is to develop a squadron of blockchain controlled autonomous robots to make deliveries.
Patent Application in January 2018
The US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) published few documents on 30th August 2018, showing that Walmart has applied to patent a system that oversees the “in-field authenticating of autonomous robots.” An AR based firm, The Bentonville, submitted the patent application in January 2018. The patent title gave hints of getting inspired from the Terminator franchise, but Walmart denied claims of building the Skynet.
How will this system work?
Walmart plans to develop a system where multiple robots handle the delivery of a package throughout different legs of the supply chain, using wireless signals to communicate and authenticate the identity of one another. As this system would be a high-value target for hackers, thus Walmart believes that distributed ledger technology (DLT) could help in securing it against potential malfeasance.
How does USPTO explain the system?
In the document published by USPTO, the author explains the system.
“In some embodiments of described above, blockchain technology may be utilized to record authentication signals and identification information to facilitate or resulting from in-field authentication between autonomous electronic devices. One or more of the autonomous electronic devices described herein may comprise a node in a distributed blockchain system storing a copy of the blockchain record. Updates to the blockchain may comprise authentication signals or identification information, and one or more nodes on the system may be configured to incorporate one or more updates into blocks to add to the distributed database.”
Walmart not new to the blockchain
This is not Walmart’s first affair with the blockchain and DLTs to make deliveries more efficient. In 2017, Walmart applied for a patent of a system that would use DLT to manage package delivery hubs (e.g. lockers). This system would automatically reserve locker space for packages, ensuring that orders are only delivered where there is sufficient available capacity. in the same year, Walmart filed a patent application that uses blockchain technology to track delivery drones as they transmit packages from physical stores to customers.