ITRI and 7-Eleven Introduce Fully Unmanned C-Store

The site, in Taiwan, offers a different take on unmanned convenience.

July 27, 2023

7-Eleven has partnered with the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) to build the flagship X-STORE 7 c-store. The new concept, based at ITRI’s headquarters in Taiwan, will be entirely self-sufficient and unmanned and will use ITRI’s Grab & Go System Service that integrates smart shelves and AI sensors. It’s the first entirely unmanned c-store in Taiwan, according to the companies.

In the press release, Dr. Pang-An Ting, general director of ITRI's Information and Communications Research Laboratories, said, "We integrated smart shelves with AI technologies such as weight sensors, infrared-light curtain, ID confirmation and customer-positioning technologies to fully grasp consumer preferences and digitalize store management." He added that this "not only aids businesses in streamlining operations and addresses labor allocation challenges, but also caters to the shopping needs of remote and under-resourced areas."

According to the release, the smart shelves and ledger system allow for efficient inventory monitoring, sales tracking, and identification of customer hotspots, with just one remote worker managing these tasks in real time. Customers can simply display a QR code from the 7-Eleven app to enter, pick up or return items without the need for baskets or carts, and finalize purchases at a dedicated checkout area before exiting.

The X-STORE 7 boasts a sensor-driven approach that simplifies product identification when pulled from the shelf as the system will track what is removed (or put back), and when the customer is ready to checkout, they can simply scan a code and walkout.

While unmanned stores are not new, they have relied on computer vision in the past. Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology offers a similar experience powered by computer vision. In March, it debuted the technology at an on-campus c-store for the first time. The technology is highlighted in Amazon Go stores, some of which have closed recently.