Amazon had announced this concept for its automated “Amazon Go” store just over a year ago and finally, executed it commercially. Today, in Seattle, the American giant offset a revolution in retail industry — AI-powered shopping and no checkout. Having tested out this technology on its employees since December 2016, this supermarket was slated to debut a little early. However, the company was coming across some bugs, like accurately recognizing the buyers with similar body types, and items being kept in wrong places.
The 1,800 square feet retail store doesn’t have checkout staff or counter. That does not mean, there are no employees at all, Amazon says they have people working in the kitchen and the store to prep ingredients, make ready-to-eat food, stock shelves, and help the customers.
All this experience needs is your smartphone and the ‘Amazon Go’ app. Not only that, shoppers won’t come across any baskets or carts, only the shopping bags. Amazon has named this as ‘Just Walk Out’ technology.
How does it work?
This checkout-free experience is a result of machine learning and computer-vision algorithms. The e-commerce giant says the technologies used are akin to the ones used in autonomous cars – computer vision, deep learning and, sensor fusion. Once you have installed the Amazon Go app, you need to scan the QR code at the entry gate, and that’s it. Yes, literally.
You can begin picking out the items, and those will be billed directly to the credit card linked to your Amazon account. Hundreds of infra-red ceiling cameras track your move. They can easily differentiate between people and you are on radar from the moment you walk into the store. Then, the weight sensors detect the stuff you are picking up or putting back and automatically adding or removing it from the virtual cart.
So, even if you try to trick camera by deviously putting an extra item in your bag, weight sensors won’t let you go away with the deed. The price of the commodity will be added to your existing list.
This implies you go in, put items in the shopping bag and just walk out while payment is done via your account on its own. The whole process is pretty seamless and quick. However, the Seattle-headquartered company is yet to reveal the expansion plans of such AI-powered stores.
A number of companies in China are also working on the same concept, and are expected to make their debut soon. Their technology may not be as advanced as Amazon’s but, they are close to the convenience the users are expected to experience. One of the companies, BingeBox, has tags out on every item, which you scan while checking out and then you pay via the WeChat app.
Amazon has managed to impress us, what about you? Decide for yourselves –