Sensei opens first autonomous store in Europe

Sensei has opened its first autonomous store for the largest food retailer in Portugal.

The move comes after the company announced a $6.5 million seed funding round last month

Sensei, which uses an integrated system of cameras, sensors and AI algorithms to create a frictionless checkout shopping experience, is second only to Amazon in opening a fully autonomous store in Europe.

Continente, the Portuguese hypermarket chain, has opened Continente Labs, its first autonomous store, powered by Sensei’s autonomous technology.

Customers in store download the Continente Labs App, which acts as a digital payment method.

The app generates a QR code that enables users to enter the store, pick their items and leave.

The technology only takes a second to interact with on entry and is then seamless for the user.

Once shoppers have selected their items, they can simply exit the store, eliminating the need for queuing and payments. A digital receipt is then received in the app almost immediately after purchase.

Consumers' movements are tracked as they add or remove items from their shopping list, so the virtual basket is updated in real-time as the product is picked or returned to the shelf.

Sensei said that shoppers remain anonymous while shopping and no biometric or face recognition technology is used in the process.

“The store of the future is a concept of the past, as we’ve just set autonomous retail as a reality,” said Vasco Portugal, chief executive and co-founder of Sensei. “We are proud to enable a completely transformed experience for both customers and retailers, who are seeking better use of their time, convenience and business optimisation. We’re thrilled to partner with such an experienced retailer as Sonae and to count on their trust to pursue a path of pioneering innovation within the sector.”

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