Amazon is working on a smart refrigerator that can monitor items and help you order replacements if you’re running low. The team behind the Amazon Go systems is said to be heading up the project. Two years in the making, the project will utilize the Just Walk Out technology that Go stores use to track what shoppers put in their carts and automatically charge them when they leave.
The refrigerator would monitor the items inside and keep tabs on your purchasing habits with the modified Just Walk Out technology. If you run low on something you buy frequently, the fridge would notify you and make it easier to order more from Whole Foods or Amazon Fresh, which could give the company’s grocery division a boost. The fridge could offer recipe suggestions too, which may prove useful if you forget about an item that’s about to expire.
Amazon doesn’t plan on building the refrigerators. It’s looking to team up with an appliance manufacturer, and it will probably include Alexa for voice assistant support. Amazon has reportedly spent upwards of $50 million per year on the project so far. Even so, there’s no guarantee that the fridge will come to market as Amazon may shelve the plans. If the refrigerator does come to market, it likely won’t come cheap. An Amazon spokesperson told Engadget the company doesn’t comment “on rumors or speculation.”
The concept isn’t entirely new. In 2016, Samsung revealed a refrigerator that can help you keep track of what’s inside without having to open the door. You can even order groceries using the built-in touchscreen. Amazon’s refrigerator would take the idea a little further, though, since it would flag items that you’re about to run out of and help you order more through the company’s grocery ecosystem.