The days before self-service checkouts seem like a distant memory – and now there’s a new technology on the way that could make a trip to the shops to pick up some bread even easier.

According to The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Panasonic is joining the race to automate grocery store checkouts – just one week after Amazon unveiled its cashier-free convenience store.

The Japanese electronics company has created a solution to shopping woes with a checkout machine that can detect items in your shopping cart, tally the bill, and automatically bag your items.

Panasonic’s system plans to use a basket to scans items kitted with electronic tags as they’re being put inside. When it comes to checking out, customers will place their basket on a machine where the bottom slides out and the items are dropped into a plastic bag while the customer pays the bill. Simple.

Panasonic executives say their automated grocery store aims to save time rather than eliminate contact with other humans.

“We need a good solution also for customers who wouldn’t like a completely digitalised system,” Yasuyuki Fukui, a Panasonic business-development executive, told WSJ.

The concept is currently being tested at a Lawson convenience store in Osaka, Japan. The company is expecting to complete testing by February, with plans for a wider rollout in 2018.

Us humans have come a long way, haven’t we?

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