With grocery prices plunging due to deflation, 2016 has been a great year for parental food shopping — that is, unless you pick the wrong checkout line. Fortunately, the good people at Amazon have been working hard to make strategically-placed candy and toy tantrums a thing of the past. They recently announced plans for the first grocery store without any checkout lines. Zero. Nada. Zip-o. None whatsoever. It’s like The Purge, but practical.
The stores, known as Amazon Go, will use the same technology found in self-driving cars. That means computer vision and sensor fusion will make it all possible. According to the company’s press release “Our Just Walk Out technology automatically detects when products are taken from or returned to the shelves and keeps track of them in a virtual cart.” No word on how this technology tracks your toddler’s accidental shoplifting. (It’s not their fault. They literally have sticky fingers.) All you have to worry about is scanning your phone when you come in, so at least make sure your kid doesn’t steal that.
The first grocery store is set to open in Seattle sometime in 2017. For now, the only way you can shop in these stores is if you’re an Amazon employee or a beta tester — not to be confused with just a beta, who would never walk out without paying. Unfortunately, until Amazon Go makes it to your city, you’re going to have to wait in more ways than one, because theft is not a “test.”