FamilyMart to deploy robots at understaffed convenience stores

As Japanese convenience store chains struggle with staff shortages, a major group, FamilyMart, plans to introduce robots that would enable store managers to work remotely.

FamilyMart will first deploy self-propelled cleaner robots that have AI and camera functions at 300 stores across Japan by the end of February.

Their developers plan to add a new function within a year using the robots' AI and camera that will enable store managers to monitor shelves in real-time, allowing them to tell staffers when to restock them.

Developers hope to eventually make the AI able to automatically instruct staffers when to restock the shelves.

FamilyMart official Takahashi Hiroshi said the group hopes that improved operational efficiency will entice more people to become convenience store managers.

Convenience store chains are increasingly making use of new technologies, such as having AI support purchase orders.