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Tesco ‘working on’ AI-powered checkout- free stores to take on Amazon Go

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Tesco is looking at developing convenience stores where shoppers can go in, fill their bags and leave again – without having to engage with a checkout at all – in a bid to take on what it clearly sees as a very real threat from Amazon Go.

According to reports in The Telegraph, Working with Israeli tech company Trigo Vision, Tesco, ranked Elite in IRUK Top500 research, is said to be looking at how to develop and roll out an artificial intelligence (AI) powered series of cameras that would be able to track what each shopper has put in their bags as they go round the store – then to charge them for it via an app that would also include their payment details.

Trigo Vision – which has raised £7m in funding – is already working on a similar scheme with Israel’s leading supermarket chain Shufersal, which will be puttin its technology to use in 272 stores in the country in the coming months.

The move would see Tesco directly competing with Amazon’s Amazon Go, the marketplace’s first foray into High Street grocery retail and the first AI-powered convenience store designed to enable shoppers to use their smartphones to experience checkout-free shopping journey. Customers can download an Amazon Go app to check into the store at a turnstile, and start their shopping.

The retailer’s ’just walk out technology’ also uses computer vision, sensor fusion and deep learning to detect when products being purchased, as it adds an item into a virtual basket and charges shoppers’ Amazon account.

Amazon initially opened doors of its first Amazon Go store in downtown Seattle to the public, back in January this year and is rumoured to be looking to open a central London location this Summer, near Oxford Circus.

The retailer ranked Elite in IRUK Top500 research, initially announced the Amazon Go store in December 2017 and said it would open the doors to the public by early 2017. The debut was delayed because of a beta trial, which allowed employees to test out the store for functionality and practicality before it could open to the general public.

Tesco has already started trials of ‘scan and go’ technology, where shoppers use the Tesco app and its QR scanner to scan goods as they put them in their basket, checking out on the app and leaving when they are finished.

It is joined by many of the other major supermarkets in the UK, all of whom have similar scan and go trials running, including Sainsbury’s, which opened the doors on its first customer-facing checkout-less, scan and go store in Holborn in London in April this year.

Tesco, however, seems now to be the first to break cover on trying to emulate Amazon Go’s totally contactless approach to grocery retail. Tesco has so far remained tight-lipped about the deal.

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