The Fox Robotics technology is being deployed in Florida, Texas, New York and Alabama after a 16-month pilot.

Walmart brings autonomous forklifts to 4 distribution centers

Walmart associate Jose Molina uses an autonomous forklift from Fox Robotics inside a distribution center. Courtesy of Walmart

Dive Brief:

  • Walmart rolled out 19 autonomous forklifts in four distribution centers in a push to automate the warehouse loading dock, the company announced Thursday. 
  • The autonomous forklifts from Fox Robotics will be in facilities located in Florida, Texas, New York and Alabama. These sites will be used to “test how using the autonomous forklift to unload trailers will improve the associate experience and business operations,” a Walmart spokesperson told Supply Chain Dive in an email.
  • Associates are already working alongside new technology systems in the selected facilities and “seeing constant progress and higher output,” the spokesperson said.

Dive Insight:

After a 16-month proof of concept pilot program at the Brooksville, Florida, facility, Walmart decided to move forward with its latest deployment of the FoxBot autonomous forklift, Maurice Gray, general manager at the distribution center, wrote in a Walmart blog announcing the project. 

The FoxBot autonomous forklift uses AI-powered machine vision and planning to unload pallets from a truck. The pallets are then moved to be inducted into an automated storage and retrieval system, which catalogs and stores goods.

The role of the associate who operates the FoxBot is similar to playing Tetris, Gray said.

“Instead of unloading the pallets manually, associates become conductors – considering the best, most efficient way to unload trailers based on their own experience,” Gray added.

Walmart brings autonomous forklifts to 4 distribution centers

The FoxBot autonomous forklift is expected to automate the warehouse loading dock. Image Source: Walmart  

The retail giant is committed to using automation throughout its stores and supply chain.

Walmart expects about 65% of its stores to have automation capabilities and 55% of its fulfillment center volume to move through automated facilities by the end of fiscal year 2026, executives said last year during the retailer’s annual investors meeting.

The company’s automation ambitions have also grown across multiple warehouse technology initiatives. 

In 2022, Walmart announced it would deploy Symbotic’s AI technology to all 42 of its regional distribution centers over the course of eight years to increase inventory accuracy. Then in October 2023, the company opened its third next generation fulfillment center that enables faster delivery by condensing its 12-step fulfillment process into five steps.

  • Walmart looks to spend more on robots, e-commerce

    Walmart brings autonomous forklifts to 4 distribution centers

    Retail Dive

  • Walmart to deploy Symbotic’s AI tech in all regional distribution centers

    Walmart brings autonomous forklifts to 4 distribution centers

    Supply Chain Dive

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