Source : Amazon

Amazon gives up on its vision of cashier-free stores 🛒

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A world where you could do your shopping without having to go to the checkout? Amazon has dreamed of this and tried to make it a reality for over seven years. Unfortunately, the e-commerce giant has decided to abandon this ambition.

A less glamorous background

En décembre 2016, Amazon a choqué le monde de la grande distribution ainsi que le grand public en dévoilant une technologie révolutionnaire : Just Walk Out. Avec cette innovation, le géant du e-commerce visait à mettre fin aux files d’attente aux caisses des magasins. Pour mieux visualiser ce futur, une vidéo avait été mise en ligne.

As shown in the video, « Just Walk Out » technology is based on advances in sensors, computer vision and artificial intelligence. In practice, however, setting up this costly infrastructure is just the beginning of the challenges. According to a report published by The Information last year, Amazon also used a vast network of service providers in India. These 1,000 individuals were responsible for manually verifying transactions carried out using Just Walk Out technology. Out of every thousand transactions carried out in 2022, around 700 would have required human intervention. This figure is well below the target set by Amazon (50 checks per thousand transactions).

However, the company denied the data reported by The Information, while acknowledging the existence of manual checks for « a small percentage » of operations. Nevertheless, for a system that is supposed to be automated, the number of human checks required remains significant. Amazon points out that Indian employees are responsible for annotating the images taken from the cameras’ video recordings. This is a crucial step in perfecting the artificial intelligence model.

Amazon Go stores closing

Until now, « Just Walk Out » technology has been used in Amazon Go superstores and Amazon Fresh grocery stores. However, Amazon has confirmed a leak reported by The Information. It indicates that Amazon Fresh supermarkets equipped with this technology (around twenty in the US) are considering discontinuing it. However, Just Walk Out technology has not been totally abandoned. It is still in use in Amazon Go stores and some Amazon Fresh stores in the UK. In addition, the company is exploring other methods of simplifying the payment process, such as the use of RFID tags for clothing items or the adoption of Dash Carts equipped with a touch screen and a scanning device.


Source : 01net

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