AiFi and CMU run smart retail competition

  • February 18, 2020
  • imc

AiFi, a Californian company that has created an autonomous store platform, has partnered Carnegie Mellon University to run a competition for researchers to develop better, faster and more accurate autonomous checkout software.

The competition is being run as part of the Cyber-Physical Systems and Internet-of-Things (CPS-IoT) Week in Sydney, Australia, with the actual contest taking place in April. Abstracts describing a team’s approach and deployment requirements are due before the end of February.

During CPS-IoT Week, industry and academics will be able to test and design approaches and compare their approaches under similar conditions. Autonomous stores can offer more convenience with round-the-clock shopping hours, stock analysis in real time and a better understanding of human shopping behaviour. The competition allows teams of graduate students and industry groups to understand and explore autonomous store technology.

“This competition brings both industry and academia together by reducing the barrier of entry for researchers to access data and infrastructure,” said João Diogo Falcão, VP of engineering at AiFi. “At AiFi we are very proud of our accomplishments including deploying ten autonomous stores with major retailers including Albert Heijn and Carrefour. It is always a thrill when we bring opportunity and data to the best researchers in the world and see how they use it. We will provide video feeds, 3D position of all humans in the store, weight sensor data, layout information and a trigger so you know when someone exits the store. This competition will be our new way of supporting the scientific mission of the conference and help bring autonomous retail to its peak.”

To compete in the autonomous checkout competition, all techniques such as vision-only, sensors only or sensor fusion are welcome except those that require humans’ manual interaction. Competitors will be able to test their algorithms using a public dataset provided by AiFi in collaboration with CMU. During the competition, competitors will be able to deploy their system and test it a day before the evaluation day. Results will be shown and processed in the store’s infrastructure and servers.

“Smart systems in life face many challenges because of the complexity of the physical world,” said Shijia Pan, assistant professor from UC Merced and publicity chair in the organising committee of CPS-IoT Week. “A heterogeneous sensing system dataset that is deployed in real-world scenarios for a long time is very precious for filling the gap between industrial and university research. We are very happy that the AutoCheck competition hosted by AiFi provides the students not only the dataset but also an opportunity to understand the smart systems research happening in Silicon Valley.”

AiFi is an AI technology company automating the world’s stores for retailers and brands of all sizes, from small footprint pop-up stores to supermarkets. With its autonomous store platform, AiFi says it is creating delightful customer shopping experiences with some of the most influential retail partners in the world including Carrefour, Albert Heijn, Żabka, Valora and Loop. AiFi-powered stores are becoming destinations in cities such as Amsterdam, Paris, San Francisco and Shanghai.