Amazon Is Scrapping Its No-Checkout Grocery Shopping – And Its ‘AI’ Was Actually Operated By 1000 Humans

Amazon has made a significant decision regarding its brick-and-mortar grocery stores, opting to discontinue its Just Walk Out program. This program allowed customers to exit stores without a formal checkout process. Instead, Amazon will fully transition to the use of “Dash Carts,” where customers scan products as they add them to their carts.

The Information reports that Amazon is removing the Just Walk Out system from all larger stores where it was implemented, while also improving its stores across the board. This change comes as Amazon prepares to expand its Amazon Fresh locations later this year. However, the company will continue to use the Just Walk Out system in smaller corner stores.

Despite acquiring the upscale and popular Whole Foods chain in 2017, Amazon has struggled to establish a strong presence in in-person retail. The company has closed all of its Books, 4-Star, and Pop-up stores over the years, halting the expansion of its Fresh stores. Last year, Amazon also closed its “Amazon Style” clothing stores, and in January, it shut down its last drive-up grocery store.

An earlier report by The Information said that “Amazon had more than 1,000 people in India working on Just Walk Out as of mid-2022 whose jobs included manually reviewing transactions and labeling images from videos to train Just Walk Out’s machine learning model.”

With the shift to Dash Carts, Amazon is essentially simplifying self-checkout by incorporating scanners and a touchscreen into special shopping carts. This approach has been tried by other retailers in the US and Europe, followed by checkout with a palm scanner. While this allows customers to keep a running total while they shop, Amazon may still face challenges.

Self-checkout kiosks have existed since the 1980s, but their use has not spread widely. Executives from supermarket chains have observed that these devices can be sluggish, unreliable, and impersonal. Reconsidering self-checkout is also a trend among other supermarket stores, such as Costco and Walmart.

Originally tracking client purchases with computer vision technology, Amazon now uses radio-frequency identification (RFID) scanners. Although the company’s decision to use palm-scanning technology may cause some worry, it might be justified as a less intrusive option than using AI and a lot of cameras.

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