U.K. opens its first checkout-free store, but it’s not Amazon Go

uk opens its first checkout free store but not amazon go sainsburys
Sainsbury's

The U.K. has just opened its first checkout-free store that lets shoppers leave without having to wait in line to pay.

It’s located in central London and operated by Sainsbury’s, one of the nation’s biggest supermarket chains.

But the system is different from the one used by Amazon Go, which tracks customer movement using cameras and sensors. Instead, Sainsbury’s requires shoppers to use its app to scan each item as they make their way around the store. At the end of the visit, the customer pays via Apple Pay or Google Pay before scanning a QR code to finish the shop. Such a system costs less to set up than Amazon Go’s as it has no reliance on sophisticated tracking technology and can be installed at low cost at existing stores.

A number of Sainsbury’s stores have been testing the app-based experience for a while, but they’ve retained the checkouts for those who want to use them. As part of a three-month trial, the central London location has removed all of the checkouts though it does have a help desk for anyone wishing to pay using traditional methods.

Other changes to the store include the removal of alcohol and tobacco products to eliminate time-consuming age-verification processes, which helps to create as frictionless an experience as possible.

According to Sainsbury’s, the store’s items have been tailored specifically for busy customers buying breakfast or lunch and other food to eat on the go, including snacks, breakfast pots, freshly baked pastries, sandwiches, and drinks.

“We know our customers value their time and many want to shop as quickly as possible [and] technology is key to that,” Clodagh Moriarty, Sainsbury’s chief digital officer, said in a release. “This is an experiment rather than a new format for us; it hasn’t been done in the U.K. before and we’re really excited to understand how our customers respond to the app experience.”

Moriarty said the company would be listening carefully to customer feedback before deciding whether to roll out the system to more of its stores.

Recent reports suggested Amazon was close to opening its first checkout-free Go store in the U.K., though it has yet to do so. Seattle-based Amazon currently operates 10 Amazon Go sites across the U.S. — four in its home city, four in Chicago, and two in San Francisco, and there have been reports that it’s planning to open as many as 3,000 stores by 2021.

Amazon Go launched in early 2018 and uses an array of sensors, cameras, and artificial intelligence technology to track what you put in your bag, with your selected items automatically charged to your Amazon account as you exit the store. If you have yet to visit a Go store, Digital Trends offers an account of what it’s like following its experience at the first such store to open.

Emerging Tech

Mars 2020 rover now has a rotating array of drill bits for sampling Martian rock

Most the key components in the Mars 2020 rover are installed and ready to go. The next phase of construction was to install the bit carousel, an important mechanism for the gathering and sorting of samples from the Martian surface.
Deals

These Sennheiser wireless headphones are down to only $90 on Amazon

Sennheiser is known for producing world-class audio devices. If you want one of their high-quality headsets without spending a fortune, check out the HD 4.40BT wireless headphones. This headset is only $90 on Amazon now.
Mobile

Best alternatives to Google’s preinstalled Android apps

Want to get away from Google's preinstalled Android apps, such as Gmail, Google Calendar, and Maps? These are the best alternatives to the apps that come with your phone, which are pretty great, but not for everybody.
Deals

This renewed Apple iPhone X gets a steep $180 discount on Amazon

If you are looking to upgrade to a fairly new iPhone model, check out this offer for the Amazon-renewed Apple iPhone X. This awesome iPhone deal lets you own Apple's tenth-anniversary phone for only $670.
Computing

The best free antivirus platforms for Mac in 2019

Malware protection is more important than ever, even if you eschew Windows in favor of Apple's desktop platform. Thankfully, protecting your machine is as easy as choosing from the best free antivirus apps for Mac suites.
Emerging Tech

NASA selects landing site candidates for OSIRIS-Rex to sample asteroid Bennu

Last year, the OSIRIS-REx craft arrived at asteroid Bennu, from which it will collect a sample from the asteroid to be brought back to Earth. Now, the NASA team has selected four potential sites to choose from for the sampling mission.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Racing drones and robotic ping pong trainers

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

NASA wants to send two more missions to Mars to collect rock samples

With its Mars 2020 mission, NASA hopes to collect samples from the surface of the planet. The challenge is how to get those samples back to Earth. Now, NASA has revealed its plans for two followup missions to Mars.
Emerging Tech

Eric Geusz: Apple engineer by day, spaceship designer by night

An Apple software engineer by day, artist Eric Geusz spends his nights drawing everyday household objects as amazing, science fiction-style spaceships. Check out the impressive results.
Emerging Tech

The black hole at the center of our galaxy is flaring and no one knows why

At the heart of our galaxy lies a supermassive black hole, Sagittarius A*. Normally this giant monster is relatively docile, but recently it's been a hotbed of unexpected activity, rapidly glowing 75 times brighter than normal.
Emerging Tech

SpaceIL’s crashed lander may have sent thousands of tardigrades to the moon

When the SpaceIL craft Beresheet crashed into the moon earlier this year, it left more than just an impact mark. Thousands of micro-animals called tardigrades were along for the ride and may have survived the crash.
Emerging Tech

NASA’s satellite projects will study the sun using solar sailing

Small satellites can be used for all sorts of purposes, and NASA has been searching for ideas to push ahead the capabilities of the hardware. The agency has announced two new projects to demonstrate the potential of small satellites.
Emerging Tech

Hubble captures a beautiful cosmic jellyfish made of glowing gas

A new image from Hubble might look like a deep-space jellyfish, but it's not a sign of extraterrestrial life - in fact, it's a planetary nebula called NGC 2022, located in the constellation of Orion (The Hunter).
Emerging Tech

Parker Solar Probe makes a second orbit of the sun, captures solar wind on video

The Parker Solar Probe, launched last year, has completed its second orbit around the sun. To celebrate, the team responsible for the probe has released a video showing solar winds in action.