Automation got a boost on Monday with the opening of the new Amazon Go store in Seattle, a store that boasts to have no lines or cashiers.
Just walk in, and walk out.
After a year of testing, the checkout-free grocery officially opened to the public. Should Amazon’s experiment work, a new age in shopping could be dawning.
According to Yahoo News, the Seattle store “relies on cameras and sensors to track what shoppers remove from the shelves, and what they put back. Cash registers and checkout lines become superfluous – customers are billed after leaving the store using credit cards on file.”
The promulgation of such a store puts the “Fight for $15” minimum wage crowd in a tough position, a movement that ironically began in Seattle.
Amazon, which purchased the supermarket chain Whole Foods for $13.7 billion last year, has outlined no plans to apply the Amazon Go model to the famed chain if proven successful.
Despite the opening, the store has experienced challenges. A source told Yahoo News that those challenges include “identifying shoppers with similar body types” and children causing havoc by moving items to incorrect places.
Gianna Puerini, vice president of Amazon Go, said that the store’s test phase has proven successful, something unimagined just four years ago.
“This technology didn’t exist,” Puerini said. “It was really advancing the state of the art of computer vision and machine learning.”
Puerini noted how the technology can tell the difference between two products that looked nearly identical.
Shoppers must scan their Amazon Go smartphone app and pass through the gate before they begin. “Ready-to-eat lunch items greet shoppers when they enter,” reports Yahoo News. “Deeper into the store, shoppers can find a small selection of grocery items, including meats and meal kits. Sleek black cameras monitoring from above and weight sensors in the shelves help Amazon determine exactly what people take.”
The purchase of alcohol will require an Amazon employee to check IDs.
Once a customer passes through the gates with an item, their account will be charged. If they put it back on a shelf, the computer removes it from their virtual cart.
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