Amazon to Unveil Loss Prevention Drones at Book and Grocery Stores

Amazon's Jeff Bezos testing his new drone.

Later this year, Amazon will begin rolling out a fleet of loss prevention drones, equipped with short-range tasers and guided by a machine-learning algorithm, at its Amazon Books and Amazon Go locations, Shelf Awareness has learned. In addition to using advanced sensory technology and proprietary facial and gesture recognition software to detect suspicious behavior in real time, the algorithm will be capable of predicting which shoppers are most likely to commit unlawful behavior.

Codenamed "Eye of Bezos," the algorithm can create an "ethical matrix" of an individual using a combination of his or her Amazon shopping and search histories along with voice and visual data scraped from the ever-growing list of Alexa-enabled devices. The algorithm will then use the data to identify "high risk" individuals and put the drones on alert as soon as they enter an Amazon store. From there, sensors will monitor not only the individual's movements but also his or her heart rate, body temperature, perspiration and more, and should enough suspicious indicators be detected, the drones will automatically deploy from hidden docks located throughout the store.

Though the drones have yet to be implemented in Amazon's own stores, the company is reportedly already in talks with various private security forces and police departments around the world to supply the drones as part of a program called Amazon Justice. A possible name of Amazon Prime Suspect was rejected due to fears of brand confusion. --Alex Mutter

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