Amazon Abandons Checkout-Less Tech That Secretly Used 1,000 Indian Employees Watching Cameras

Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) is doing away with the “Just Walk Out” checkout-less technology at its Fresh grocery stores after running into significant operational challenges. The system, first introduced in 2018, aimed to allow customers to seamlessly enter, shop, and exit the store without going through a traditional checkout process.

Instead of relying solely on artificial intelligence and advanced sensors, as Amazon had claimed, the Just Walk Out system depended heavily on manual labor from over 1,000 workers based in India, an investigation by The Information reveals. These remote “cashiers” monitored video footage from stores to track what items customers removed from shelves before generating receipts hours later.

According to the publication, roughly 700 out of every 1,000 transactions at Amazon Fresh stores with Just Walk Out still required human review as recently as 2022 — far higher than the company’s target of less than 50 reviews per 1,000 sales. An Amazon spokesperson acknowledged that these offshore associates validated “a small minority” of visits when the AI struggled to determine purchases accurately.

The labor-intensive process proved too costly and inefficient for the e-commerce giant. Over half of Amazon Fresh locations had implemented Just Walk Out, but the company has now begun phasing it out in favor of “Dash Carts” — smart shopping carts with built-in scanners and checkout capabilities.

“We’re rolling out Amazon Dash Cart, our smart-shopping carts,” a company spokesperson told Gizmodo, confirming the switch from Just Walk Out at existing Fresh stores. Traditional self-checkout counters will also be available for non-Prime members.

Information for this story was found via the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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