Think nobody’s going to notice if you don’t scan that gallon of milk at the self-checkout register? Think again.
According to Business Insider, Walmart’s using new cameras with computer vision to aid in catching thieves at over 1,000 of its stores.
The company confirmed to Business Insider it has a technology program called “Missed Scan Detection” that uses AI-equipped cameras to “track and analyze activities at both self-checkout registers and those manned by Walmart cashiers.”
The goal with the cameras is to detect when items aren’t scanned at checkout. If the cameras see an item hasn’t been scanned, it sends a checkout attendant to provide assistance.
While the computer vision cameras are helpful for catching thieves who think they can get away with not paying for an item, they’re mostly being used to reduce shrinkage.
Shrinkage is the amount of lost revenue that’s the result of theft, loss, damage, fraud, scanning errors, etc. Since deploying the Missed Scan Detection cameras in stores two years ago, Walmart told Business Insider shrink rates have declined.
Oftentimes, scanning errors are the result of human error and not actual theft. For example, Alan O’Herlihy, CEO of the company Everseen which provides Walmart with its computer vision tech, says certain items are hard to scan.
“People find it hard to scan milk,” said O’Herlihy. “Sometimes they get frustrated and they just don’t scan it.”
Walmart’s not the only one using computer vision technology to track items within its stores. Amazon’s “Walk Out” technology also uses computer vision to track an item throughout its checkout-less Go stores.
So, next time you think you can get away with “accidentally” making off with an item, don’t. The cameras in the sky will likely catch you.