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Northeastern grocery giant Wegmans is taking a step into the future as it tests smart-cart technology at two of its stores. The grocer's small-scale tryout of cutting-edge technology comes after Wegmans did away with its beloved self-checkout app last fall amid a surge in shoplifting.

@steverequiem It’s seriously added 20 minutes to my grocery trip. Why @wegmans why would you do this? #wegmans ♬ I Wanna Go Home - Fat Cat

Wegmans is working with tech startup Shopic to integrate the technology at two New York state stores — in Amherst and Rochester — utilizing a small group of customers. About the size of a small tablet computer, the rectangular device clips onto an ordinary shopping cart and uses computer vision to detect products as they are added to the cart, diminishing the threat of shoplifting enabled by the now-defunct SCAN app. The AI-powered device also allows customers to pay for their items right from the cart.

For consumers, the smart carts could mean no more waiting in line to check out, a welcome alternative during busy times that surely hits home for anyone who has braved grocery shopping the night before Thanksgiving.

Wegmans isn't the first grocery chain to experiment with AI-driven shopping carts. Shoppers have spotted similar carts at Amazon Fresh, Kroger, Albertson's, and Whole Foods.

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The widespread adoption of smart carts by grocery chains could result in the loss of many cashier jobs. But the threat, at least at Wegmans, isn't immediate. Shopic's smart carts are an early stage technology, and Wegmans is in the preliminary stage of a "test and learn" pilot, suggesting the grocer is in no hurry to rush the technology to market. 

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