Shoring up rumors on the matter, Amazon on Monday expanded its reach within the grocery industry with the trial launch of Amazon Go, a new type of store that could revolutionize the grocery shopping experience (assuming it takes root, of course). Here's how it works.
Amazon Go is a shopping experience with no lines, no checkouts and no registers. To enter the store, just open the Amazon app on your smartphone and scan it as you enter. From there, simply put your phone up and shop as you normally would.
Amazon says that anything you pick up is automatically added to a virtual cart that's associated with your account (similarly, anything you put back on the shelf is removed from your cart). When you've got everything you need, simply walk out of the store and you'll be billed for your purchase directly through your Amazon account.
The technology, dubbed Just Walk Out, uses machine learning, computer vision, deep learning algorithms and sensor fusion that Amazon says is similar to what you'd find in self-driving cars. A detailed explanation of exactly how it works will have to wait, unfortunately, as Amazon isn't yet ready to share that information.
Amazon is currently testing the concept at a new 1,800 square-foot store in Seattle with select Amazon employees that are participating in the beta. There's certainly more questions than answers at this stage although I suspect most of those will be answered in the coming weeks and months as Amazon aims to open the store to the public early next year.