Called Amazon Go, which Amazon bills as the “world’s most advanced shopping technology”, shoppers can walk into a retail store, scan a special Amazon Go barcode using the accompanying app, put your smartphone back in your pocket, grab your grocery items and go with ease. You never have to wait in a line, swipe (or insert) a credit card, or even use fingerprint-authenticated touch-less payment systems like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay or Google Pay.
Your unique Amazon Bar code activates your virtual shopping cart, and as you start picking items off the shelf, it is automatically updated to reflect the item that you’ve put into your bag or “physical” shopping cart. If you put the item back on the shelf, it’s automatically removed from your virtual shopping cart. It’s rather ingenious, and the YouTube video below shows just how simple and effective the system is in practice.
“We used computer vision, deep learning algorithms and sensor fusion much like you’d find in self-driving cars,” says Amazon. “We call it ‘Just Walk Out’ technology.” Just Walk Out is what allows the shelves to detect when an item is removed or returned and “places” them in your virtual shopping cart. All of the items that you’ve secured during your shopping trip are paid for as soon as you walk out of the store. And as you might expect, everything is charged directly to your Amazon account.
We’d like to learn a bit more specifics on what is going on behind the scenes with Amazon Go, but it won’t be long before we’ll find out. Amazon plans to launch its first Amazon Go retail stores in early 2017 for the general public. For now, the first Amazon Go “beta” store, which is located in Seattle, Washington, is only open to Amazon employees.