Amazon launches first supermarket without checkouts

Amazon has just opened the world's first checkout-free supermarket, Amazon Go supermarket in Seattle.

The new shopping experience is made possible by the same types of technologies used in self-driving cars: computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning. The Just Walk Out Technology automatically detects when products are taken from or returned to the shelves and keeps track of them in a virtual cart.

Shoppers need an Amazon account, the free Amazon Go app, and a recent-generation iPhone or Android phone. Before entering the store, shoppers must scan the Amazon Go smartphone app. Sensors on the shelves add items to the bill as customers pick them up - and deletes any they put back.

When customers have finished shopping, they can just leave the store. Shortly after, they will be sent a receipt and their Amazon account will be charged.

The 1,800 sq ft store offers ready-to-eat breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack options made by Amazon Go chefs and favorite local kitchens and bakeries. The selection of grocery essentials ranges from staples like bread and milk to artisan cheeses and locally made chocolates. For a quick home-cooked dinner, shoppers can pick up one of the chef-designed Amazon Meal Kits, with all the ingredients needed to make a meal for two in about 30 minutes.

The store was trialled by Amazon staff in December 2016 and had been expected to allow the public in early 2017. However, there were technical issues with correctly identifying shoppers of similar body types, and children moving items to the wrong places on shelves, according to an Amazon insider.

The new Amazon Go is open 7am—9pm, Monday to Friday.