Online retailer Amazon has opened a smart payments real-world supermarket with no checkouts, after more than a year of testing.
Shoppers at the Amazon Go store in Seattle have to pass through a gate and scan the Amazon Go app on their smartphone as they enter.
Then, the store uses hundreds of infra-red ceiling-mounted cameras and electronic sensors to identify each customer and track the items they select.
If a shopper puts an item back on the shelf, Amazon removes it from their virtual cart.
The customer’s account is charged once they pass back through the gates with their items.
Amazon calls the technology “Just walk out”. And, although the company has not revealed exactly how it works, it says it uses “computer vision, deep learning algorithms and sensor fusion, much like you’d find in a self-driving car“.
Gianna Puerini, vice president of Amazon Go, said in an interview that the store had operated well during the test phase: “This technology didn’t exist — it was really advancing the state-of-the-art of computer vision and machine learning.”
The store started testing with employees of Amazon in December 2016 and had been expected to open to the public sooner, BBC News reports.
However, there were some technological hurdles to overcome, such as correctly identifying shoppers of similar body types, and children moving items to the wrong places on shelves.
Now those issues seem to have been sorted out, the potential of the checkout-free store is huge — with customers likely to be won over by any retailer with no checkout queues.