This year, the talk of robots taking over our jobs has grown louder. Robots can build cars and even quick serve restaurants are using more technology at the front of the house. But you have to look to Japan for the future of self-checkout systems as they are already going live. Thanks to an aging population, Japan is searching for answers to mitigate expected labor shortages in their homeland. Because of this, the government in conjunction with their five major convenience stores plans to introduce self-checkout in the next several years. The new age registers will instantly calculate the prices of all items in a basket at once and also bag them for you.
In December, Panasonic introduced "Reji Robo" or register robots and it is trialing the new technology at convenience store chain Lawson. Today, customers have to scan merchandise manually with robotic baskets but Panasonic aims to make the process frictionless in 2017 where customers will be able to just place the items in the basket without any scanning. If successful, Panasonic plans to introduce the system nationwide in 2018.
The system "could bring a revolution to the broader retailing industry," Lawson President and COO Sadanobu Takemasu told the told The Wall Street Journal. "We all face a scarcity of labor."