Amazon robots take over supermarkets?

As the news sinks in at UK supermarkets that Amazon Go may be coming to London, there have been reports in the US that Amazon may well be developing the concept of ‘robot run supermarkets’, eradicating staff from the weekly shop experience altogether.

A report in the New York Post last Friday suggests that Amazon is contemplating a “two-story, automated grocery store in which a staff of robots on the floor upstairs grabs and bags items for shoppers below”.

The US newspaper claims that it has got its information from “sources briefed on the plans”.

According to those “sources” the stores would be quite big – “spanning anywhere between 10,000 and 40,000 square feet” – but they “could operate with as few as three employees at a time”.

The report didn’t say whether the store robots would also bag up click and collect orders for drones to deliver to Amazon Prime members’ homes. The story however has some truth given what is known / rumoured to be going on at Amazon’s research facilities.

While (as ever) there has been no official comment from Amazon over the New York Post story it is known that the online giant has been pressing ahead with its research into robots and automating its warehousing systems. Many of the processes involved are very similar to those in the retail environment. As such while it may be a culture shock to those using them of a different order of magnitude to the automated checkouts, it won’t be a huge technological leap. As and when Amazon goes into bricks and mortar retail, it is extremely likely that these technologies will be used… 
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