The San Deigo-based startup, Accel Robotics has recently announced a US$ 30 million Series A funding round led by SoftBank Group Corp. The company is focused on artificial intelligence (AI) and computer vision for checkout-free stores. It’s Series A funding includes existing investors like New Ground Ventures, Toyo Kanetsu Corporate Venture Investment Partnership, and RevTech Ventures, in addition to SoftBank.
The funding will enable Accel Robotics to enhance its expansion worldwide by growing operations, increasing manufacturing capacity, and streamlining its expanding deployment pipeline. Previously, the company had received a funding of US$ 7 million and the recent funding will be built on that to bring Accel Robotics’s total capital up to US$ 37 million.
Talking about SoftBank’s funding, Brandon Maseda, CEO, Accel Robotics said, “We are excited to partner with the team at SoftBank Group to help scale our frictionless commerce platform with retailers and brands around the world.”
Accel Robotics was founded in 2015 and is currently developing AI and computer vision solutions needed for checkout-free stores that are being designed with an aim to make queuing a thing of the past. The solution will also generate a vast amount of consumer data. The fundamental idea behind such stores is that the shopper simply walks into a store, picks items from the shelves, and then walks out again. The customer will get the receipt sent directly to his/her mobile device.
It has been noted that the deployments of cashier-less stores are already underway in North America and Japan. The company is leveraging its frictionless commerce platform in stores in the regions. The platform leads in the category of grocery, convenience, quick service restaurants, and drugstore chains in North America and Japan.
Accel Robotics’s platform allows retailers to deploy stores to the emerging environment at a quick pace. It also enables them to extend their reach, acquire new customers, and increase revenue.
Globally, several startups have launched platforms to bring automated supermarkets to every city to which retailers can adapt their existing stores easily. In 2018, Trigo had raised US$ 22 million to establish grocery stores with cameras, sensor fusion technology, computer vision, and cloud-based computational power.
Also, Standard Cognition, the AI company has received US$ 35 million funding whereas Grabango which is a software company, has secured US$ 12 million. Both companies cater to the same goal of eliminating checkouts and embellishing supermarkets with data.
Additionally, tech giant Amazon, which is probably the highest-profile cashier-free store operator, has debuted in 2016 only, in this foray with its concept Amazon Go stores. The company has, notably, expanded the outlets to 18 locations across the US.
While explaining about the working of Amazon Go, the company explained, “Our checkout-free shopping experience is made possible by the same types of technologies used in self-driving cars: computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning. Our Just Walk Out Technology automatically detects when products are taken from or returned to the shelves and keeps track of them in a virtual cart. When you’re done shopping, you can just leave the store. A little later, we’ll send you a receipt and charge your Amazon account.”