Amazon starts selling smart grocery carts to other retailers in the US


Amazon has announced its decision to extend the availability of its smart grocery carts to other retailers, marking a strategic move to offer its Dash Cart technology as a service.

Currently, a few stores belonging to Price Chopper and McKeever’s Market in Kansas and Missouri are piloting the smart grocery carts, which streamline the shopping experience by automatically tracking and calculating items as customers browse, Amazon disclosed.

Introduced in 2020 initially at its Fresh supermarket chain and later integrated into select Whole Foods stores, the Dash Cart utilizes a blend of computer vision and sensors to identify items as they are placed inside the cart. A real-time display on the cart adjusts the total price as shoppers add or remove items.

Amazon’s approach mirrors its previous strategy with the “Just Walk Out” cashier-less technology. Originally developed for Amazon’s Go convenience stores, the technology has been extended to third-party retailers in various locations such as airports, stadiums, and hospitals.

Despite gaining traction with third-party Just Walk Out users, Amazon has removed the technology from several of its own grocery stores. Recently, it announced the discontinuation of Just Walk Out at certain Fresh stores and two Whole Foods locations. However, Amazon intends to continue using the technology at its Go convenience stores and smaller Fresh stores in the U.K., while expanding the use of Dash Carts in its U.S. Fresh stores.

Notably, Amazon’s efforts in physical store technologies, including Just Walk Out and Dash Carts, were affected by recent layoffs.

Amazon remains confident in the future prospects of Just Walk Out technology, particularly in stores offering a curated selection where customers can quickly grab what they need and leave. Just Walk Out relies on an intricate network of cameras and sensors within the store to monitor customer purchases and automatically charge them upon exit.

Concerns were raised earlier regarding the privacy implications of Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology, with reports suggesting human moderators were involved in monitoring shoppers. While Amazon refuted these claims, it acknowledged the role of human staff in labeling and annotating shopping data to refine the technology’s AI algorithms.

In clarifying its position, Amazon stated that human reviewers are not actively monitoring live video feeds of shoppers but are instead involved in supporting the AI system to ensure accuracy, a common practice in AI development.