Amazon Unveils The First ‘Checkout Free’ Supermarket

Is this really worth the convenience?

Amazon has opened its ‘checkout free’ supermarket to the public for the first time.

Called Amazon Go, the Seattle-based grocery store has no cashiers or checkouts, instead a small army of cameras mounted in the ceiling watch you enter and then track every time you place an item in your shopping bag.

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To get started you need to download the Amazon Go app and scan the code provided, once you’re in the store’s AI will then identify you and follow you around the store.

While the cameras are doing much of the heavy-lifting, every shelf in store also contains a collection of sensors and scales noting down exactly how much each item weighs.

By combining these two together, Amazon believes it has a system that can track what you’re physically buying with 99% accuracy.

Bloomberg via Getty Images

The only staff that are in the store are there to either check ID for alcohol, or are in the kitchen where most of the meals are all freshly prepared.

The rest of the store is completely automated, logging everything you pick up and placing it in a virtual basket that you can see on the app.

If you want to pay all you have to do is leave the store and the final amount is taken from your account.

Jeffrey Dastin / Reuters

Amazon’s experimental store was actually first built around a year ago, but since then Amazon has been trialling the store in a ‘beta’ phase specifically just for Amazon’s staff that work in its HQ nearby.

Opening it to the general public will be a tougher challenge as the system will have to deal with a lot more customers, many of whom will be using the system for the first time.

While opening a public store is a big step it’s likely that you won’t be seeing stores like this open around the world for a while. Not only will Amazon have to make sure it can cope with larger crowds but it’ll then have to see how the public feels about having a system that is totally reliant on watching your every move.


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