business news in context, analysis with attitude

•  Winn-Dixie parent company Southeastern Grocers has announced "its partnership with Relocalize to pilot ice manufacturing in the world’s first autonomous micro-factory, designed to help eliminate middle-mile logistics to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, water waste and plastic pollution to nourish both people and the planet."

The announcement says that "SEG and Relocalize are committed to revolutionizing the food industry with the introduction of this first local micro-factory that is centrally managed by an AI-powered software platform and utilizes robotics for 100% of production labor. This innovative and automated manufacturing process allows the grocer to scale production and create waste-reduction solutions throughout the full lifecycle of the product – all at a lower economic and environmental cost."

•  Sprouts Farmers Market announced it "will eliminate single use plastic bags at checkout by the end of 2023. With this decision, Sprouts will remove over 200 million single use plastic bags from circulation each year.

"Sprouts has already eliminated single use plastic bags at 132 of its California stores and will roll out this initiative in phases next month, beginning with Nevada, Utah, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia stores."

•  From Axios:

A shortage of truck drivers and skilled machine operators is inspiring the development of autonomous vehicles for use in construction, farming, heavy industry and even freight rail."

According to the story, "Caterpillar deployed its first (truly massive) autonomous mining trucks in 2013, and now has nearly 600 in operation. It wants to bring autonomy to smaller vehicles, including bulldozers.

"In agriculture, Deere & Company has introduced autonomous tractors to help growers cope with a shortage of workers.

"Startups such as SafeAI and Teleo are retrofitting older construction machines with autonomous or remote-operated technology."

What's next, the story says, will be "shipping containers that can move themselves on railroad tracks."

I was with them until the railroad thing.  Pretty sure that recent derailments teach us that trains probably shouldn't be autonomous until the infrastructure is improved and modernized.