Instacart is Acquiring a Maker of Smart Grocery Carts, Wading Deeper Into Physical Retail

Over the past year and a half, Instacart went from being just another delivery app to providing an essential service. Now, the company is looking beyond the pandemic already: It announced its largest-ever acquisition—of a startup whose technology helps customers who are shopping in person, physically, in stores. As part of a $350 million cash-and-stock deal, Instacart says it’s purchased Caper AI, a maker of smart grocery carts that has also built an Amazon Go-esque cashierless checkout system.

Caper’s main product is the AI Cart, which, as the name suggests, pairs AI with various cameras and weight sensors to identify which products customers put in their carts. A touchscreen produces an itemized list of everything, then customers can swipe a credit card on the built-in pay terminal. Shoppers bag their own groceries and waltz out without having to stand in a line.

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