Amazon Go
Amazon Go

Amazon has opened its highly anticipated automated store – Amazon Go – to the public, more than a year after it launched the pilot.

The Seattle-based grocery store has no cashiers on site, as well as no checkouts for shoppers to contend with. Instead they download the Amazon Go app and scan it on entry. From there they can simply walk out with products in order to activate automatic payment.

The idea for the store came five years ago at Amazon. According to Recode, Dilip Kumar, the Amazon Go technology chief who served for nearly two years as CEO Jeff Bezos’ technical adviser, asked the question: “What can we do to improve on convenience?” The answer consistently came back to solving the fact people don’t like waiting in line.

The resulting 1,800 sq ft space features special cameras, shelf sensors that track inventory and the company’s computer vision system. As a result, it knows when you have put something back down, comparative to when you’ve actually walked out with it.

This isn’t however a completely employee-free zone – various staff are on hand to help at the entrance and to restock the shelves.

Until now, only employees of Amazon were able to use the store, which is housed within the e-commerce giant’s headquarters. The concept was first announced in December 2016 but has taken over a year to be consumer-ready while various bugs were ironed out. It couldn’t previously cope when the store got too crowded for instance or when items were misplaced.

The company has yet to announce plans for further rollout or for a business model attached to it. It is imagined however, that Amazon’s “Just Walk Out” technology may be licensed to other retail partners down the line.