Walmart submitted a series of patents related to the way it tracks inventory, and technologies could change the way its customers buy, according to Gizmodo.
One of the patents is clearly for the store experience, and proposes a detection device to make the shopping carts smart and communicate with a mobile device (presumably to help you navigate to where the items are). There is also a patent that tracks users through portable devices, and several to manage / detect inventory levels.
Walmart has also filed a patent for drones that would help customers buy in the store. The patent describes a method where an unmanned aircraft can be summoned through a mobile device, either personal or temporarily provided, and then "provide assistance to the user in the form of price verification or navigation assistance".
There are also two patents for autonomous technology. One describes a method for detecting items placed in a container, and the other is a sensor system, a processor and a communication interface to automatically gather information about vehicles (presumably transporting goods), such as the weight before and after delivery, the size and temperature
If some of this really comes to fruition it is hard to say. Companies routinely file patents that are never made, but the idea of a future where drones are available to them as shopping assistants is interesting at least.
Walmart has been increasing its efforts lately to compete with Amazon and other large retailers. Increased the prices of items purchased online versus in the store at the end of last year, made the leap to start producing and selling their own food kits and reached an agreement with the Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten to be the retailer massive exclusive of Kobo e-readers.
Walmart reported in February that its US e-commerce sales grew 23 percent during fiscal 2017 and its online revenues increased 44 percent, but a former employee says he lied about the results to "win the war in the United States." e-commerce at all costs. " A Walmart spokesman told The Verge that the allegations were "by a disgruntled former partner, who was fired as part of a general restructuring."