Instacart’s grocery ‘smart cart’ shows how it’s about more than just deliveries

In the middle of a modern grocery store, with smooth concrete flooring, white oak shelving and white tiled walls, there’s a beige and thick-bodied plastic shopping cart. The cart has a big orange and green carrot logo printed on the side, and a tablet computer affixed to the top where a child would normally sit, as well as a digital payment terminal.
The Caper Cart has sensors that can detect what you put in it, plus a touch screen and built-in payment system for self-checkout. | Image: Instacart

Instacart gig workers have a smartphone app with scanning tools at their disposal to fulfill delivery orders — but what if regular shoppers could also use them? The grocery delivery service plans to get regular everyday shoppers into “Connected Stores,” where they’d use a rolling smart cart with built-in support for lists, order deli meats or baked goods, finding items, and self-checkout.

The star of the show is Instacart’s upgraded “Caper Cart,” a smart cart that can detect what items in your list are placed in — based on computer vision and weight — and checks them off in your app. It’s got a big touchscreen that syncs your grocery list from your app and an attached payment terminal so you can self-checkout without waiting to use a…

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Author: Umar Shakir