Seattle, Washington, USA : After a year of testing with its own employees, Amazon plans to open its sensor-infused and cashier-less Amazon Go convenience store that lets you browse, grab and walk out — skipping the checkout line, but not the bill — to the public on Monday.
The convenience store, located at the base of it’s Seattle headquarters uses proprietary technology, made up of hundreds of cameras and sensors and requires a new Amazon app.
To shop in the store, which is about the size of a 7-Eleven, customers must first download the Amazon Go app and link it to a payment method. Then they open the app on their phone and scan it at the four turnstiles to enter the 1,800 square foot store.
Once inside, cameras in the ceiling, sensors on the shelves and a massive amount of computing power track every item they pick up and what goes into their pockets or bags.
As they move through the store, each item is added to their digital tab. If they pick something up but then put it back, the store knows it and removes the item from their virtual shopping basket.
To check out — there’s a reason it’s called Just Walk Out technology. You just walk out.
“The store knows you’re leaving and it tallies up your items and charges your account,” said Gianna Puerini, vice president for Amazon Go.
Dilip Kumar, vice president of technology for Amazon Go and Amazon Books, said that its vision system and algorithms have been thoroughly trained with the nuances of when people are “bending down,” “examining items,” and “picking things up.” On the product side, the system is now more able to read into product variations like flavor or dietary variants when customers hold the item in their hands.
The Amazon Go companion app which has been released for Android, acts as the customer identification medium, the payment medium (meaning that the store is cashless) and a product catalog. Customers will still have to interact with a store associate for purchasing alcohol, though, as identification will need to be shown.
The technology behind Amazon Go, called Just Walk Out, is proprietary and Amazon is expected to keep its details secret while it tests it on a small but more varied customer set than the Amazon employees who’ve been using it. It was originally scheduled to open to the public in early 2017 but was delayed in part due to the complexity of the technology.
No future plans have been set on the Amazon Go concept and neither will tracking technology be implemented into the Whole Foods supermarket chain, which Amazon acquired last year.