Amazon’s high-tech supermarkets of the future could be operated by just three humans, according to The New York Post.
The ecommerce giant is reportedly considering two-storey supermarkets that span between 10,000 square feet and 40,000 square feet and rely heavily on a fleet of robots, sources told The New York Post.
The supermarkets — currently at the prototype stage — expand on the smaller Amazon Go grocery stores, which were unveiled last December.
Both the grocery stores and the supermarkets would contain no cashiers, no registers, and no lines. Instead, they would rely on an app on customer’s phones that would detect items picked off shelves for purchase.
In Amazon’s planned supermarkets, robots would reportedly be based upstairs and used to find and pack items for customers on the floor below, which would be home to products up to 4,000 items that shoppers “like to touch,” such as fresh meat, fruit, vegetables, and eggs. The supermarkets could also contain Amazon pharmacies, according to The New York Post, which writes that Amazon is keen to break into the lucrative sector.
Sources reportedly told The New York Post that the Amazon supermarkets could be run with just three human employees, which is significantly less than most supermarkets use today. The maximum number of humans required to work in one of Amazon’ s supermarkets is said to be just 10 people.
“Amazon will utilise technology to minimise labour,” a source with knowledge of the plans told The New York Post.
An Amazon spokesperson denied that the company is considering robot-run supermarkets.
“As we’ve said previously, it’s not correct,” an Amazon spokesman told Business Insider. “We have no plans to build such a store.”
Robots can already be found in Amazon’s vast warehouses which are used to store the millions of products that are sold on its website.
Amazon significantly expanded its army of warehouse robots in 2016, according to a report by The Seattle Times.
The newspaper — based in the same city as Amazon’s global headquarters — wrote earlier this month that the e-commerce giant now has 45,000 robots across 20 fulfillment centres.
Last January, the World Economic Forum (WEF) warned that robots, automation, and AI will replace 5 million human jobs by 2020.
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