Retail AI Lab and Retail Robotics Initiative

Retail AI Lab and Retail Robotics Initiative Announced by Retail Analytics Council
The Retail Analytics Council is pleased to announce the Retail AI Lab on Northwestern University’s Evanston, Ill., campus and the launch of the Retail Robotics Initiative to focus on robotic and data applications in retail.
The Retail Analytics Council, an initiative between the Platt Retail Institute and Northwestern University, was established four years ago. “Since that time, we have made significant progress,” said Steven Keith Platt, the Council’s Research Director. “Major milestones include four major educational events (including the first-ever Retail Robotics and AI Conference), building an outstanding board of advisors, publishing cutting-edge research, and presenting and publishing student research.”
Retail AI Lab
To continue to build on this progress, the Retail Analytics Council is launching the Retail AI Lab at Northwestern University. The primary objectives are to undertake additional research projects by broadening faculty involvement, and engaging students on research projects, with the goal of raising awareness of careers in retail AI and analytics.
“There is tremendous retail industry demand for students skilled in AI and analytics,” said Professor Martin Block, Executive Director of the Council. “The RAC, with access to many retailers, can secure training data sets that will aid students in further developing their skills, as well as equipping them with subject matter expertise to enhance their employment prospects with retailers.”
Retail Robotics Initiative
The Retail Robotics Initiative seeks to unite industry, academia, and investors around the common objective of advancing robotic and data applications in retail environments. Some key activities include:

  • Publish articles to raise industry awareness.
  • Work with existing and emerging robotics companies to aid them in expanding their business by introducing them to retailers and helping them to secure pilots.
  • Assist retailers in understanding the benefits associated with introducing robots into their stores and for process automation.
  • Publish research. Currently, we are interested in a test of a robotic RFID project.
  • Sponsor a competition for both existing and emerging robotics companies to present their technology at the annual RAC Retail Robotics and AI Conference.
Supporting These Efforts
Retail AI Lab 



Dr. Kristian J. Hammond, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Northwestern University, and Chief Scientist and Co-Founder, Narrative Science

Retail Robotics Initiative


Advisory Board

Jeff Burstein, President, The Association for Advancing Automation
Jeff Donaldson, CEO, Intriosity, and Former CIO, GameStop
Dr. Martial Hebert, Director, Robotics Institute and Professor, Carnegie Mellon University
Andra Keay, Managing Director, Silicon Valley Robotics
Dave Matthews, Managing Director, REVTECH Accelerator
Dr. John Ostrem, CEO and Co-Founder, AvatarMind
Tim Rowland, CEO, Badger Technologies

Save the Date!
Retailers are welcome to pre-register for the April 11-12, 2019 Retail Robotics and AI Conference, to be held in Evanston, Illinois, home of Northwestern University.

Send an email to register.