After warehouse staff, Amazon to replace store clerks with robots

Amazon wants shoppers to just walk out of its stores and let an AI figure out what they owe for what they took.

Amazon.com is still figuring out how to use robots to fill store shelves, but it's about done with clerks. Next year, the company will open a convenience store in Seattle where shoppers can walk in, take what they want -- and leave.

The Amazon Go store is on the corner of 7th Avenue and Blanchard Street in Seattle, in the heart of Amazon's new campus development and a few blocks from the company's headquarters.

Amazon wants people to walk in to the store and then just walk out with what they want.

It's not giving the goods away, though.

To figure out who to charge, and how much, Amazon will identify shoppers by scanning QR codes on their phones as they walk in, and use sensors and computer vision technology to determine which items they take.

That might seem creepy, but it's not much more intrusive than the closed-circuit TV monitoring many stores already have in place to deter shoplifters, or the Bluetooth beacons others use to pitch up-to-the-minute offers to visitors. Whether Amazon's system is sharp-eyed enough to distinguish between a jar of strawberry jelly and a jar of raspberry in the same way that a clerk with a regular barcode reader can distinguish between codes 051500001639 and 051500022030 remains to be seen.

For now, only Amazon staff can shop at the 180-square-meter Go store, but early next year it will be ready to sell ready-made snacks and staples such as bread and milk to anyone -- anyone with the Amazon Go app running on a compatible smartphone, that is.

Payment is automatically deducted from the associated credit card when a shopper leaves the store, and the receipt is sent to the app.

With robots already able to mop the floor, and the shelf-stacking problem almost solved by entrants to the Amazon Picking Challenge, the employee-free grocery store may not be far away.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Peter Sayer

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?