Amazon Is Set To Launch Its Automated Checkout System In Full Size Supermarkets. Amazon.com is poised to bring its automated checkout technology to full-size supermarkets, a significant milestone in the race to revolutionise how people buy their groceries.
Shoppers enter these stores by swiping a smart phone at the entry gate. Inside, they’re tracked by cameras, software algorithms and shelf sensors-then charged for what they take when exiting through the designated gates.
According to Independent Online, Amazon appears to have solved a significant technical challenge, creating a grab-and-go system that can handle scores of shoppers at once and cover large supermarkets without being prohibitively expensive to build and operate. The breakthrough, if it works, would catapult Amazon ahead of rivals, which are testing similar camera-based technology developed by various start-ups. Executives at these companies have acknowledged that they are perhaps a year or two away from installing cashier-less systems in full-sized supermarkets.
Since launching the Fresh chain in southern California, Amazon has opened 12 stores, with 37 more in development across the U.S., according to a Bloomberg tally based on permits, state licensing records and news reports.
Independent Online also stated that, tracking dozens of people across a big store is technically challenging, but cost has also slowed the adoption of cashier-less technology. Equipping a 2,000-square-foot convenience store with cameras can be done with a few dozen devices. Covering a much larger full-service supermarket, which in the U.S. tend to range from 30,000 square feet to 50,000 or more, can require exponentially more cameras and servers to process and store video. That can quickly chew through the benefits of employing fewer cashiers or luring more people into the store with the promise of a seamless checkout.
Widespread adoption of automated checkouts will likely fuel critiques from labour unions that have accused Amazon of seeking to eliminate cashiers, one of the most common jobs in the U.S. The company has said the goal of its Just Walk Out program is shopper convenience, not cutting labour costs.