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Guess what happened at the opening of the Amazon Go shop designed to end queues?

By Alistair Mason and Martyn Landi, Press Association

It’s being described as the future of grocery shopping – a store that allows you to pick stuff up off the shelf and walk straight out. No checkout, no queues.

There was just one fly in the ointment when Amazon Go opened its doors on Monday: such was the hype and excitement about the new shop, customers actually had to queue to get in.

The shop in Seattle had been open for employees of Amazon for some time as the company tested out the combination of “computer vision, sensor fusion and deep learning” which powers the cashier-free experience.

But by the time the store opened to the public on Monday considerable queues had built up just to get inside.

It was an irony that was not lost on those who were watching from afar.

Of course, when the hype dies down the situation is unlikely to be repeated and shoppers will be able to experience the queueless experience Amazon envisaged.

Amazon Go has a companion app that customers scan at the entrance in order to get in, and then uses a wide range of sensors, cameras and machine learning to detect when items are picked up from shelves.

If you remove an item from the shelf and then put it back, you won’t be charged (Elaine Thompson/AP)

It is said to be able to spot when items are put back on shelves by indecisive customers, but some human staff are also on hand to ensure everything runs smoothly, as well as carrying out necessary tasks such as confirming age when a customer wants to buy alcohol.

The public opening came about a year later than Amazon initially predicted – perhaps an indication on how much work has gone into perfecting the technology in the store.