Intel pushes AI-based check-out for 24/7 autonomous shop

March 01, 2019 //By Julien Happich
Intel pushes AI-based check-out for 24/7 autonomous shop
At Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress, Intel was demonstrating among many other things how AI-driven edge computing could be leveraged to create small 24/7 autonomous retail shops with automated check-out.

The demonstration consisted of a small gated shop floor with a footprint of about 6 square meters, packed with shelves, monitored by a set of four cameras mounted on the ceiling feeding their video streams to a local rack sporting Intel’s edge-AI hardware.

In the demonstration, pre-registered shoppers first had to identify themselves by scanning a phone ID QR-code to unlock the gate. Once in the shop, they could pick and choose whatever items sitting on the shelves, or even change their mind and place back some items on the shelves. AI-enabled computer vision algorithms running across the four cameras’ video streams automatically identified and tracked the items, adding them to the shopper’s virtual shopping cart and charging users the right amount upon exit through the mobile payment method of their choice. The AI algorithms were developed by 2017 startup CloudPick using Intel’s OpenVINO (Open Visual Inference & Neural network Optimization) toolkit, itself specifically designed to take computer vision and deep-learning inference to vision applications at the edge.

Shailesh Chaudhry, product manager for retail at Intel explained eeNews Europe that while CloudPick licenses its algorithms to retail managers, its business model is to provide Fulfillment-as-a-Service (FaaS), enabling efficient order fulfillment picking operations for brands and retailers. As well as supporting automated check-out, Cloudpick’s Intelligent Retailing Platform (C-IRP) also automates inventory analysis and monitors shoppers’ traffic which can help retailers optimize store layout for example.

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