​S. Korean consumers express curiosity toward autonomous shopping cart

Park Sae-jin Reporter Posted : 2018-04-17 10:22 Updated : 2018-04-17 10:22
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[Courtesy of Shinsegae]

SEOUL -- South Korean consumers expressed curiosity, amazement and apprehension at "eli", an autonomous smart shopping cart which was showcased Tuesday at a warehouse store. It follows shoppers like a faithful puppy and helps them browse items and pay up with credit cards or a built-in mobile payment system.

The cart developed under a pet project by Chung Yong-jin, the de facto head of the country's retail conglomerate Shinsegae, was put to a four-day test run at the E-mart warehouse store located in Seoul's southern satellite city of Hanam.

eli was introduced first by Chung, known as a tech-savvy early adopter, last month in a video uploaded onto his Instagram. The group's vice chairman said the cart was fitted with sensors which can recognize shoppers and calculate the total weight of products it is carrying. 

"This is just awesome! I wish it to be commercialized very soon!," wrote cksg, a user from South Korea's largest web portal Naver. Another user Etot said, "This is a very innovative item. I think it will make shopping more enjoyable!"

Some consumers were skeptical about eli's safety and navigating ability saying it could collide with shoppers. "I wonder how it will work in a crowded shopping mall at weekends and holidays," said MilksWaffle from Clien, an online tech community.