JR East tests unmanned store in Tokyo

A Japanese railway network operator is testing an unmanned store in a Tokyo railway station.

The store will use artificial intelligence in place of cashiers to transact with customers in a trial expected to last about two months.

The venture was opened by East Japan Railway, otherwise known as JR East, this week at the Akabane Station in Tokyo’s north. It has some 80 cameras mounted in the ceiling and on shelves recording customer behaviour before the AI software detects which items customers select.

Customers pay using stored value cards issue by railway companies for transit.

If the concept proves a success, JR East says it will begin rolling the technology out in stations across the city.

The store is loosely modelled on unmanned stores opened in Mainland China, along with the Amazon Go concept in the US.

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