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Amazon Go's Just Walk Out - Failure Museum

Launched in 2016 and discontinued in 2024, Amazon gave up on the cashier-less “Just Walk Out” technology at its Amazon Fresh grocery stores. New stores will be built without computer-vision-powered surveillance technology, and “the majority” of existing stores will have the tech removed. In the early days, Amazon’s ambitions included selling Just Walk Out to other brick-and-mortar stores. The problem was that the technology never really worked.

Just Walk Out was supposed to let customers grab what they wanted from a store and just leave, skipping any kind of checkout process. Amazon wanted to track what customers took with them purely via AI-powered video surveillance; the system just took a phone scan at the door, and shoppers would be billed later via their Amazon accounts.

Amazon had more than 1,000 people in India working on Just Walk Out as of mid-2022 whose jobs included manually reviewing transactions and labeling images from videos to train Just Walk Out’s machine learning model. Just Walk Out required about 700 human reviews per 1,000 sales, far above an internal target of reducing the number of reviews to between 20 and 50 per 1,000 sales.

Sean Jacobsohn

Sean Jacobsohn

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