Online retail giant Amazon is testing a new type of brick-and-mortar convenience store where you simply walk in, pick up your items and walk out, no clerk or a cash register required whatsoever because everything you’ve put in the shopping basket is automatically charged to your Prime account as soon as you leave the store. Located at 2131 7th Ave in Seattle, the futuristic grocery store, dubbed Amazon Go, has been four years in the making.
The system uses computer vision, sensor fusion and deep learning to detect when goods are removed and returned to the shelves. Amazon’s retail store of the future that eliminates checkout is launching in early-2017.
Shoppers only need to install the Amazon Go app, log in with their Amazon account and bring the phone close to a sensor when entering the store to “scan” it so that the outlet can “recognize” them. It would seem that Amazon’s underlying solution relies on near field technology (NFC) to let the smartphone app communicate with the cash register.
Apple’s own Apple Store shopping app for the iPhone and iPad also lets you pay for items in its physical stores without a register, but unlike Apple’s app, Amazon’s system does not require manually scanning the goods at all.
Our checkout-free shopping experience is made possible by the same types of technologies used in self-driving cars: computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning. Our Just Walk Out technology automatically detects when products are taken from or returned to the shelves and keeps track of them in a virtual cart. When you’re done shopping, you can just leave the store. Shortly after, we’ll charge your Amazon account and send you a receipt.
The company began experimenting with physical retail stores a few years ago.
Last November, for instance, the online retailer launched Amazon Books at University Village in Seattle, its first real physical bookstore, and it continues to open staffed pickup points at universities across the U.S.
Amazon’s first grocery store, AmazonFresh in the Seattle area, has been operational since 2007 and provides features like doorstep delivery of a limited selection of groceries in 16 U.S. markets, including Los Angeles, New York and Boston.
The upcoming 1,800 square feet Amazon Go store is currently open to the company’s employees during the beta program and is expected to open to the public in early 2017. The company is planning to open more of these store nationwide in the next decade.
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