Jun 15, 2017

The skinny guy in the cereal aisle is a robot

After their break into the fast-food industry, robots are about to debut in big retail stores: Later this year, a Carnegie Mellon University spinoff is launching a mobile robot that it says can work agilely around workers and shoppers while keeping track of inventory.

Sarjoun Skaff, founder of Bossa Nova Robotics, would not say which store his robots will debut in, but only that it is a big-box retail chain. He said Bossa Nova, a Pittsburgh startup that has raised $24 million in venture capital, has been testing the tall, skinny, wheeled robots in stores for four years.

Why it matters: Look for the relatively fast arrival of such robots in grocery and other big stores, which are seeking to staunch losses as shopping shifts online. One big money suck: mislaid, lost and poorly tracked inventory, which according to studies results in billions of dollars in losses a year.

The arrival of robots and general automation in restaurants and stores is raising the worry of the loss of jobs, since retail, with 15.9 million workers in the U.S. alone, is one of the single biggest employers in the world. It is both a first job and a last resort for a large segment of the population in many countries.

Some 80,000 U.S retail jobs were lost in the first five months of the year. Online stores like Amazon are hiring, but they have not matched layoffs in department and other big stores.

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Assault weapons ban dies in Virginia Senate despite Democratic control

Gun-rights ralliers at a protest outside the Virginia Capitol Building in January. Photo ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP via Getty Images.

An assault weapons ban died in the Virginia Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday despite a Democratic majority in the assembly, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: Democrats flipped the Virginia House and Senate last year after campaigning hard on gun control. The assault weapons bill would have banned future transfers and sales of all assault weapons in the state.

What we know: Deadly Storm Dennis whips at England, Wales and Ireland

Photo: OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images.

At least two deaths are being attributed to Storm Dennis on Monday as it continues to strike at parts of England, Wales and Ireland, per AccuWeather.

The big picture: Dennis is the second-strongest nontropical storm ever recorded in the North Atlantic Ocean. Its hurricane-force winds and heavy rains have caused widespread flooding across the United Kingdom. The army has been deployed in the U.K. to help with flood relief.

Go deeperArrow25 mins ago - Science

Coronavirus cases rise as 14 American evacuees infected

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's NHC; Note: China refers to mainland China and the Diamond Princess is the cruise ship offshore Yokohama, Japan. Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

14 Americans evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship tested positive for the novel coronavirus before being flown in a "specialist containment" on a plane repatriating U.S. citizens back home, the U.S. government said early Monday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 1,775 people and infected more than 70,000 others. Most cases and all but five of the deaths have occurred in mainland China.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Health