Amazon has unveiled a new and improved version of its smart shopping cart — called the Dash Cart — and plans to roll out the carts at select Whole Foods Market stores for the first time.
The new version of the Dash Cart is larger, yet lighter than its predecessor and also includes new features such as a “delicates shelf” and improved geo-location capabilities to more accurately display nearby products and deals based on where the cart is in the store. The improvements were based on customer feedback, improved computer vision and sensor fusion technology and backend development and testing that included baking the carts in an oven and freezing them in a freezer to test their ability to withstand harsh weather conditions.
First deployed in 2020, Dash Carts are already available at many Amazon Fresh stores across the U.S. Now the new version will roll out at the Whole Foods store in Westford, Mass., which will be the first Whole Foods in the country to have access to the high-tech carts. A few additional Whole Foods Market stores as well as a number of Amazon Fresh stores will also get upgraded Dash Carts over the coming months.
“As many of our customers return to their in-store grocery shopping routines, it’s exciting to introduce new and unique ways for them to shop our stores,” said Leandro Balbinot, CTO for Whole Foods Market in a statement. “We’re thrilled that the newest version of Dash Cart will debut in our Westford store and can’t wait to hear the feedback from our customers there.”
Additional features of the new version of the Dash Cart include:
- Popular carryovers from the original design, including real-time receipts and the ability to weigh produce directly in the cart’s basket (detailed algorithms that stabilize the in-cart scale make it possible for shoppers to weigh produce without even having to stop the cart);
- The new carts weigh less than the original version but have more than double the capacity of the previous carts (they are able to hold the equivalent of four grocery bags instead of two);
- A delicates shelf as well as a lower shelf for oversized items;
- Weather resistance features so the carts can go all the way to customers’ cars for added convenience;
- The Dash Cart screen will now display images of fresh items nearby like produce for shoppers to choose from or shoppers can type in the item name (“tomato,” for example) instead of a four-digit PLU code;
- An extended all-day battery life that requires less charging;
To use the new version of the Dash Cart, shoppers log in through a QR code in the Amazon or Whole Foods Market app. From there, shoppers place their bags (if using them) in the cart and start shopping, scanning their items using one of the cameras near the handlebar of the Dash Cart. The cart uses a combination of computer vision algorithms and sensor fusion to help verify each item placed in or removed from the cart. The Dash Cart’s screen shows a real-time receipt of all items in the cart, and when shoppers are ready to check out they simply exit the store through the Amazon Dash Cart lane. Their payment is processed using the credit card associated with their Amazon account and shoppers receive an emailed receipt shortly after leaving the store.