Amazon Go - The First Automated Store
Amazon has opened its first automated store to the public. Amazon Go is a grocery store located on the ground level of the corporation's Seattle headquarters.
The store, which offers food, salads and boxed meals could revolutionize our shopping experience in the future.
As soon as you arrive at the store, a cell phone app connected to an Amazon account registers your presence. Everything that happens in the store is tracked by hundreds of infrared cameras. When you pick up items from the shelves they are automatically put into your virtual shopping cart. The cameras also detect when you put an item back on the shelves and remove it from your cart. The moment you walk out your account is charged without making any physical payment.
The technologies used at Amazon Go are the same as with driverless cars - computer tracking, weight sensors on shelves and complicated algorithms.
The 1,800 square foot store has been open to Amazon employees for a year. Now the public can also shop there.
However, not everything has been running smoothly in the store's opening year.There were hardships to overcome. For example, it's hard for cameras to distinguish between different flavours or products that look the same. They also have problems handling people who move around or identifying shoppers with similar body sizes and clothes.
Even though there are no checkout counters and cashiers who make you wait in line, there are shop assistants who restock goods and help customers find their way around.
Amazon Go store in Seattle - Image: SounderBruce
- account = here: the services of a company that you use
- algorithm = set of instructions that are followed in a fixed order and used for solving problems
- automated = using computers, cameras and machines
- boxed meal = meal that has already been cooked and is ready to eat
- cashier = person who you pay money to in a shop
- charge = you have to pay money for the goods you buy
- checkout counter = place where you pay for products when you leave a store
- complicated = difficult
- connect = link
- corporation = big company
- detect = discover, notice
- distinguish = find the difference between two things
- driverless = without a driver
- employee = a person who works there
- even though = although, while
- flavour = the taste of something
- hardships = problems, difficulties
- headquarters = place from where a company operates
- however = but
- identify = find out the name of someone
- infrared = light that gives out heat but cannot be seen
- item = product
- located = to be found; situated
- overcome = solve
- physical payment = real money you pay with in a store
- presence = someone is present
- public = here: everybody
- register = record
- restock = bring in more items to replace those that have been bought
- revolutionize = to change completely the way you do something
- shopping experience = the way we shop
- similar = almost the same
- smoothly = here: the way it should; without any problems
- track = watch closely
- virtual = not real; here: your Amazon account
- weight sensor = small object that finds out if there is something on the shelf or not