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Amazon removes Just Walk Out tech from all of its stores in the US

From its inception, the Just Walk Out technology faced numerous challenges.
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Amazon is phasing out the Just Walk Out technology from all of its Fresh grocery stores in the US. This self-checkout system relies on a combination of cameras, sensors, and human oversight to track customers' purchases and charge them accordingly.

Challenges with Just Walk Out

From its inception, the Just Walk Out technology faced numerous challenges. Despite Amazon's claims about advanced AI, the system's reliance on human monitoring has become apparent. Over 1,000 individuals in India reportedly monitor camera feeds to ensure accurate checkouts, highlighting the technology's reliance on human intervention.

Issues and expenses

Installing and maintaining the necessary equipment for Just Walk Out is prohibitively expensive. This likely contributed to its adoption in only around half of Fresh stores in the US. Customers have faced frustrating issues, including delayed receipts and mismanaged orders. Essentially, it took a significant investment in equipment and human resources to replicate the efficiency of traditional cashier systems.

Privacy concerns

Beyond operational challenges, Just Walk Out raised significant privacy concerns. The constant collection of biometric information through cameras and sensors, including body measurements, led to a class action lawsuit in New York. Amazon was accused of violating the state's Biometric Identifier Information Law by collecting data without proper disclosure.

Legal issues and consumer rights

Amazon faced criticism for failing to disclose its data collection practices adequately. Plaintiffs argued that customers should be informed if their biometric information is being collected for identification purposes. Peter Romer-Friedman, representing the plaintiffs, emphasized the need for transparency from Amazon regarding its surveillance systems.

Limited adoption and retail partnerships

Despite attempts to market the technology to other retailers, Amazon struggled to gain traction. Collaborations with Starbucks and limited launches in hospitals were insufficient. Challenges such as space requirements and competition from Amazon itself deterred potential partners from adopting the technology.

Future plans and strategy

While Just Walk Out will be phased out in the US, Amazon plans to revamp its retail grocery arm. This includes introducing Dash smart carts equipped with scales and sensors to track spending in real-time and streamline the checkout process, aligning with the company's ongoing innovation efforts.

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