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E-Mart tests autonomous shopping carts near Seoul

South Korean discount retailer E-Mart has begun testing autonomous shopping carts.

The Shinsegae subsidiary has dubbed the carts Eli. Two of them are running at the firm’s warehouse-style supermarket Traders in Hanam, just southeast of Seoul, for four days.

According to E-Mart, the cart automatically follows shoppers, helps them browse items and allows them to pay directly via the machine with credit cards or Shinsegae’s mobile payment application.

The autonomous shopping cart can tell whether items in the cart have all been paid for by comparing weights of those that have been counted for payment with those put on the machine, the company said.

The disclosure came less than a month after Chung Yong-jin, the vice chairman of Shinsegae Group, said the company is developing a “cart with cutting-edge technology to improve customers’ shopping experience.”

The latest development by E-Mart was led by the firm’s internal digital technology research lab S-Lab, which was set up in December 2014.  

The lab has been carrying out various experiments to bring new technologies, such as augmented and virtual reality, to the retail industry, the company said.

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