Futuristic Amazon Go grocery stores, which allow people to walk out with products without having to pay for them at a till (even an automated one), may be coming to airports in the US.

The first cashierless Amazon Go store opened in Seattle in January 2018, employing “Just Walk Out” technology that means customers can help themselves to whatever they need without having to go to a checkout counter to pay before they leave.

Since then, Another three Amazon Go stores have opened in Seattle, where Amazon is headquartered, along with three in Chicago and two in San Francisco.

There have also been reports that the company is considering rolling out Amazon Go convenience stores in airports, a decision that is likely to be hugely popular with time-pressed travellers.

How does Amazon Go work?

All you have to do is download the app from the App Store, Google Play or Amazon Appstore, fill in your bank details and you are ready to go. Having the app on your phone will give you access to the stores – just scan the QR code on your screen to unlock the door. You can also scan in friends and family. Anything you take off the shelf is automatically added to your virtual shopping cart – and anything you put back, comes out.

Apparently, it uses the same types of technologies used in self-driving cars: computer vision (stores are lined with cameras), sensor fusion and deep learning. When you have finished shopping, you can just leave. A bill will later be sent to your phone and your card will be charged.

What can you buy?

Amazon Go says: “We offer delicious ready-to-eat breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack options made by our chefs and favourite local kitchens and bakeries. Our selection of grocery essentials ranges from staples like bread and milk to artisan cheeses and locally made chocolates. For a quick home-cooked dinner, pick up one of our chef-designed Amazon Meal Kits, with all the ingredients you need to make a meal for two in about 30 minutes.”

Retail of tomorrow

For locations such as airports where every square foot of retail real-estate equates to potential revenue, and where customers only have a very limited window of time to browse and buy, facing a queue can make the difference between heading to the gate with a purchase and not. Globetrender predicts that this kind of technology – be it for groceries on the way home in Arrivals or duty-free in departures – will be ubiquitous in airports of tomorrow.