Amazon has launched a beta version of its Go convenience store, which it describes as a “new kind of store with no checkout required.” An ambitious project that has apparently been in the works for four years, Amazon Go seeks to do away with the nuisance of waiting in lines. Rather than paying in the store, customers simply … walk out once they’re done getting their groceries.
So how does it work? According to Amazon, the experience depends upon “the same types of technologies used in self-driving cars: computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning.” Whenever you grab an item from a shelf, the company’s Just Walk Out technology detects what’s been taken and its price. If you change your mind about an item, you can put it back, and Amazon will remove it from your virtual shopping cart. When you’re finished, just leave, and your credit card will be charged and you’ll be sent a receipt.
As it stands, Amazon Go currently offers ready-to-eat breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack options, created daily by on-site chefs, local kitchens, and bakeries. And while Go has grocery store staples like bread, milk, and cheese, it also stocks products for the more adventurous eaters from brands Amazon is eager to introduce to the public. You can even buy an Amazon Meal Kit, which promises to contain “all the ingredients you need to make a meal for two in about 30 minutes.”
Currently, only Amazon employees are taking part of the Beta program, though Amazon promises to open up its 21st century grocery store to the public in early 2017. You can sign up to be notified when Go opens here. But until then, keep paying for your groceries in the store. You don’t want to jump the gun on this one.