Retail giant Walmart is getting ready to enter the world of blockchain in a big way. It has plans to develop an army of autonomous robots controlled and authenticated through a blockchain network.
According to documents released by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) on Thursday, Walmart has applied to patent a system that oversees the “in-field authenticating of autonomous robots.” The Bentonville, AR-based firm submitted the patent application in Jan. 2018.
This might seem like something straight out from the Terminator franchise. But the retail giant is quick to dispel any such assumption and claims that it is not building Skynet.
Rather, Walmart says that it plans to use its cohort of autonomous robots to make deliveries, presumably in a bid to compete more effectively with Amazon in the retail space.
The documents depicts the details of a system in which multiple robots handle the delivery of a package throughout different legs of the supply chain, using wireless signals to communicate and authenticate the identity of one another.
Considering the complexity of the system which would make it a high-value target for hackers, Walmart believes that distributed ledger technology (DLT) could help them thwart any such potential threat and make it secure and comprehensive.
According to authors:
“In some embodiments of described above, blockchain technology may be utilized to record authentication signals and identification information to facilitate or resulting from in-field authentication between autonomous electronic devices. One or more of the autonomous electronic devices described herein may comprise a node in a distributed blockchain system storing a copy of the blockchain record. Updates to the blockchain may comprise authentication signals or identification information, and one or more nodes on the system may be configured to incorporate one or more updates into blocks to add to the distributed database.”
Not the first time
This is not the first time Walmart has made its foray into the world of blockchain.
On July 5 this year, the retail giant was awarded a patent detailing an invention focusing on the delivery of packages as well as scheduling the delivery of these packages.
Last year, Walmart filed for a patent application that uses blockchain technology to track delivery drones as they transmit packages from physical stores to customers.
Image via Shutterstock
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