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Having been to Costco's self checkout the other day, I can see the retail space making a push towards automation. I think this pandemic has made everyone a bit more self conscious about unnecessary interactions and I see this affecting stores, particularly the cashier role. For the past few years, many stores have began to offer self checkout. It has been convenient for customers and helps cut costs. However, you still have to physically process each item and there is always a higher percentage of petty theft. With the pandemic, there will always be a concern from bacteria left behind when buyers are scanning the items.
I believe Amazon (https://techcrunch.com/2018/01/21/inside-amazons-surveillance-powered-no-checkout-convenience-store/) is one of the first to implement a no checkout convenience store, and I believe this pandemic will only encourage other traditional markets to invest in the necessary infrastructure to follow suit. The technology is still error-prone as discussed in the article, but adoption will encourage improvements.

I came across another interesting usage of automation in the COVID scenario - https://www.hindustantimes.com/gurugram/robot-nurses-to-serve-food-medicines-to-covid-19-patients-in-gurugram-soon/story-iGNhle5xrWwTtTU9HabkOM.html

This article is about how a hospital in Gurugram, India is planning to use Robot ‘nurses’ to serve food, medicines to Covid-19 patients. Success of such initiatives will surely accelerate the drive towards automation but will also present an increased challenge for governments and technology leaders to accommodate displaced workers.

COVID-19 will cause short-term delay of Autonomous Vehicle development. However, in the long-term, AVs will benefit from the pandemic because AVs can enable physical distancing.


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