Lawson Inc and Panasonic Corporation have conducted an industry-first experimental demonstration of Regi-Robo, an entirely automated checkout system from December 12, 2016 to February 20, 2017. The experiment was conducted at the Lawson Panasonic-Mae store (Moriguchi, Osaka), an experimental store of the next-generation convenience store with the support of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Lawson and Panasonic also conducted the experimental demonstration using RFIDs (electronic tags) in February 2017. By realizing speedier checkouts without the need to scan purchased items before payments in the future, we aim to further enhance convenience for customers.
Lawson is promoting a revolution in productivity to increase the efficiency of the convenience store operations in which complexity is growing. With the Regi-Robo system, customers picked up items and scanned the item's barcode, and then put the items into the "Smart Basket", a special basket for the system. When customers then placed the basket into the dedicated checkout counter, the system automatically settled the transaction and placed the purchased items into a plastic bag. As store staff did not need to scan products for registration or packing, the new system contributed to labor-savings in store operations. To further improve customers' convenience and the productivity of operations, Lawson and Panasonic attached RFIDs, electronic tags to products, instead of barcodes, which enabled the communication information and eliminated the need of product scanning.
Panasonic aims to provide solutions for AI robotics appliances, customer service at stores and distribution/transportation by fully using their IoT and robotics technology in order to realize better life and society. This time, they have developed the Regi-Robo using their know-hows for productivity enhancement in factories, the mechatronics technology and sensing technology, all of which they have accumulated in the manufacturing industry. The Regi-Robo is a customer-friendly self-checkout machine which will shorten customers' time for settlements and operations at register counters.
Since 2013, Lawson and Panasonic have jointly launched the "Blue Project" and have worked on the themes such as health, environment, and ICT, and the two are collaborating in multiple fields. For example, Lawson has proactively introduced the non-CFC (CO2 refrigerant) refrigerator/freezer systems to about 1,600 stores (as of the end of October 2016). These systems made using Panasonic's technology are effective for reducing CO2 gas emissions as well as energy savings. The two companies will enhance collaboration on the theme of productivity revolution, support for daily life, etc. to assist customers' high-quality life through retailing and technologies.
Regi-Robo is selected as an "experimental business to implement robotics in FY2016" with subsidies from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
Source and top image: Panasonic