Nov 25, 2019

The robots of Black Friday

Erica Pandey, author of @Work

Delivery robot from Dutch supermarket Albert Heijn. Photo: Niels Wenstedt/AFP via Getty Images

Look out for the first of the retail robots as you shop this year.

Why it matters: From machines that can restock shelves to robot deliverers, automation is creeping into the retail industry. The first-ever cargo-carrying robot for consumers comes from Italian company Piaggio. The robot is similar to the delivery bots that FedEx and Amazon have been testing, but it can be yours for a few thousand bucks, AP reports.

Between the lines: On top of the more than 15 million Americans who work in retail year-round, companies routinely hire hundreds of thousands of temporary workers to staff stores and warehouses during big shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

  • The development of more — and smarter — retail robots puts those jobs at risk.

Piaggio is marketing the robot as a seamless way to lug your groceries or shopping bags around a city. But the company will have to find other uses for the bot to make money off of it, analysts tell AP.

  • It's not clear how big the market is for a super-expensive grocery-carrying robot, but the machine could potentially be used to move inventory around in a warehouse or medical supplies in a hospital.

The big picture: This new bot joins dozens of others in the retail industry.

  • Tally, a robot developed by Silicon Valley's Simbe Robotics, is already starting to pop up in store aisles.

Go deeper: A crisis for retail jobs

Go deeper

Deaths without consequences

Community organizations and activists demand police accountability at a rally in Grand Central Terminal to commemorate the 5-year anniversary of Mike Brown's death by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson. Photo: Erik McGregor/Getty Images

Seven years after the launch of the Black Lives Matter movement, it's still rare for police officers to be charged in the deaths of African Americans — and even more rare for an officer to go to jail.

The big picture: The Minneapolis police officer who was captured on video kneeling on George Floyd's neck has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter — which is already a step beyond the consequences other police officers have faced. But it's no guarantee that he will face jail time.

Teenager killed after shots fired at protesters in Detroit

Detroit police during protests on Friday night. Photo: Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images

A 19-year-old man was killed on Friday night after shots were fired into a crowd of demonstrators in downtown Detroit who were protesting the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, per AP.

Details: The teenager was injured when shots were fired from an SUV about 11:30 p.m. and later died in hospital, reports MDN reports, which noted police were still looking for a suspect. Police said officers were not involved in the shooting, according to AP.

Go deeper: In photos: Protesters clash with police nationwide over George Floyd

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

In photos: Protesters clash with police nationwide over George Floyd

Police officers grapple with protesters in Atlanta. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Police used tear gas, rubber bullets and pepper spray as the protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd spread nationwide on Friday evening.

The big picture: Police responded in force in cities ranging from Atlanta to Des Moines, Houston to Detroit, Milwaukee to D.C. and Denver to Louisville. In Los Angeles, police declared a stretch of downtown off limits, with Oakland issuing a similar warning.