In its bid to further automate grocery shopping, Amazon today unveiled a smart shopping cart that can automatically detect products placed inside it and let customers pay for shopping without visiting a cashier. The “Dash Cart” — the company calls it — looks like any other grocery cart, but uses a mix of cameras, sensors and a built-in scale to work out a person’s purchases and then deducts the total amount from the card associated with their Amazon account.
The process might sound familiar, especially considering Amazon has opened a number of automated Go stores over the past year. However, the Dash Cart relies on its own smarts rather than an array of wall-mounted cameras. It will be deployed at one of Amazon’s first true grocery stores — which means it won’t be Whole Foods or Go store — in the Woodland Hills area of Los Angeles later this year.
According to Amazon, the Dash Cart is designed for “small- to medium-sized grocery trips and fits two grocery bags.” Upon arrival, customers will sign in using a QR code in the Amazon app and then place products into their own bags while shopping. The cart will beep when the product is correctly identified or flash orange if it needs to be re-added.
There’s a small display on the top that provides access to Alexa shopping lists, as well as a coupon scanner that will apply discounts while people shop. Once done, shoppers exit through one of the store’s Dash Cart lanes and the receipt will automatically be emailed to the address on file.
When Amazon announced it would roll out a new grocery store format in 2020, the company immediately posted recruitment ads for stock replenishment and food counter associates, suggesting that it wouldn’t veer too far away from the traditional supermarket layout. At 35,000 square-feet, the Woodland Hills location is roughly three times bigger than Amazon’s largest Go store, and was once home to a Toys ‘R’ Us.