Standard Cognition, an AI-powered cashierless checkout provider that has positioned its technology as an “alternative to Amazon Go,” has acquired Explorer.ai, a mapping and computer vision startup, for an undisclosed sum. With the technology, Standard Cognition will be able to map larger stores, allowing the company to expand into new retail verticals.
The Standard Cognition technology uses store ceiling cameras to determine what products are in the store, customer location and items they possess so that the shoppers can walk in and out of a store without stopping at a cashier to pay. The company already opened its own pilot store, Standard Market, to test the technology in public. While the 1,900-square-foot San Francisco-based store sells food, cleaning supplies and general convenience store items, Standard Cognition wants to broaden its horizons beyond this vertical.
The acquisition comes at a time when competition within the “cashierless” arena is fierce. Amazon Go stores generate an estimated $1.5 million in revenue per year, according to data from RBC Capital Markets, as reported by Recode. These stores take in 50% more revenue on average than typical convenience stores, illustrating that expanding the cashierless concept could go a long way in physical retail if it’s done correctly.
Standard Cognition already has a major partnership in place with Japan-based Paltac, a wholesaler of cosmetics, medicine and daily necessity items. The solution provider aims to pilot the technology in 3,000 stores that Paltac partners with by 2020. Unlike Amazon Go, Standard Cognition wants to sell its solution directly to the owners of physical stores, allowing them to take the same approach as Go stores.
As part of the acquisition, Standard Cognition brings on the Explorer.ai team of seven AI engineers, including Co-Founders Akshay Goel, Tushar Dadlani and Nagasrikanth Kallakuri.
The Explorer.ai technology was initially developed for autonomous vehicles by a team out of Carnegie Mellon University, but the industry moved too slowly for the company to experience significant growth, the co-founders explained on Medium.