Panasonic has created a supermarket robot that scans and bags your groceries in a move to make checking out quicker and easier.
The Reji Robo – short for register robot – has been trialled at a branch of the Lawson supermarket chain in Osaka, Japan. It is a computerised shopping basket that uses sensors to detect what products you would like to purchase. Once you have paid for them, the bottom of the basket slides away, dropping the purchased items into a plastic bag.
Lawson said in a statement: “Since the store clerk does not need to register the scan of the product or pack the bag at the cash register, it leads to labour saving of the store operation.” However, the retailer’s directors, and those at Panasonic, have been quick to dismiss concerns that the technology has been developed to replace staff.
The launch follows a similar innovation to boost retail convenience from online giant Amazon, which earlier this month opened a checkout-free grocery store in Seattle in the US.
Customers can leave the Amazon Go store without having to pay at a till thanks to technology that “automatically detects when products are taken from or returned to the shelves and keeps track of them in a virtual cart,” Amazon explained on its website.
When a customer has finished shopping, they simply leave the store and shortly afterwards a receipt is sent to their Amazon account.