Amazon to test Dash Cart, a smart grocery cart that sees what you’re buying – TechCrunch

Amazon today introduced the latest in smart store technology with the introduction of the Amazon Dash Cart, a grocery cart that identifies and then bills you for the items you place in its cart. The cart will first be available when the Amazon grocery store opens in Woodland Hills, Calif., Later this year, the retailer said.

Today’s cart is not intended for your standard grocery trip where you refuel. Instead, Amazon explains, the smart cart can handle small to mid-size grocery runs of 2 bags or less.

It has to do with how the technology works to identify the items in the shopping cart from the shopping cart.

The Amazon Dash Cart uses a combination of computer vision and sensor fusion algorithms to identify the items in the cart, Amazon says. Then, when you exit the Dash Cart lane in the store, sensors automatically identify the cart and your payment is processed using the credit card that you registered in your Amazon account.

To start using the cart, you will scan a QR code in the Amazon app with the reader on the cart. You then place your bag (s) in the basket and start shopping. When you add items to the cart, you will need to wait to hear a beep. If the cart turns orange, it could not read the item and you will have to try again.

In addition to the sensor technology, the cart has a screen at the top that allows customers to access their Alexa shopping list and check things out, as well as view their current subtotal. The cart will also be equipped with a coupon scanner where you can apply the coupons while you shop.

Based on the video provided by Amazon (and very few specific details) the cart seemed to require the product barcode to be visible. In an image from the video, for example, the shopper discovers the barcode with their finger before adding the item to the cart. The video also shows the products with the barcode facing the buyer and the cart screen, while loading.

In another section, the video explains how “Add items without barcode”, like products. In this case, the customer enters the PLU number on the screen and confirms the weight.

Amazon’s website does not detail how barcode reading is involved, but does indicate that the cart uses “computer vision algorithms” and “sensor fusion.” This seems to imply that the smart cart is the next step beyond Amazon’s existing technology, “Just Walk Out,” which is used in its Amazon Go stores. But with “Just Walk Out, stores are using vision by computer via camera-mounted systems as well as shelf sensor technology to identify when products are picked up or returned to store shelves. The Dash Cart, on the other hand, will be tested in a regular grocery store, not an Amazon Go store.

While it’s clear that the cart isn’t just a wheeled barcode reader, Amazon’s website was not completely transparent about the use of barcode scanning technology.

We also asked Amazon to further detail how its new technology works and were told that the cart “first looks for a barcode to quickly identify the product.”

However, if the barcode is obstructed, for example by the customer’s hand, then computer vision algorithms will try to identify the object instead.

Bringing Just Walk Out technology to a grocery store would be extremely difficult compared to an Amazon Go store, which is a convenience store in size. Grocery stores have more items than the cart should be able to identify, and new products are also available all the time.

Amazon announced in March that it would start selling its cashier-less store technology to other retailers. Likely, he has similar plans for his smart cart, once the technology is tested and improved. Amazon declined to talk about its future plans, when asked.


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Peggy P. Gilmore