Amazon supermarket will roll out fancy new smart cart when it opens

Enlarge / Amazon has provided an educational video explaining how to use a grocery cart when it is also the register. (credit: Amazon)

Amazon is working to expand its grocery business—not Whole Foods, which already has more than 500 store locations, but its Amazon-branded line of register-free stores. While it’s easy for a customer to carry a small bag of items around a convenience store like in the first Amazon Go, it’s a lot harder to schlep around the volume of groceries one often buys at a regular supermarket. So Amazon is doing what Amazon does and is making the shopping cart itself an essential part of its high-tech retail experience.

The Amazon Dash cart will launch along with the company’s Los Angeles supermarket later this year, the company said today. The smart cart requires a customer to log in to the cart using the Amazon app on their phone, then uses a system of cameras and sensors to take stock of what a shopper puts in the basket. It also has a touchscreen panel on the front handle, so consumers can purchase items that don’t have barcodes, such as fresh produce. When a shopper is done with their grocery trip, they roll the cart out of the “dash lane,” grab their now paid-for groceries, and saunter away.

Amazon’s camera-heavy, cashier-free convenience stores first opened to the public in 2017. Earlier this year, the company followed suit with a slightly larger Amazon Go Grocery location in Seattle, which Ars’ own Sam Machkovech tested to see exactly how accurate the panopticon supermarket setup is. (Spoiler: It’s not completely foolproof, but it can identify if you try to steal a banana.)

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