Sodexo Ventures invests in self-checkout system based on AI image recognition

Sodexo’s strategic venture capital vehicle, Sodexo Ventures, has invested in AEYE-GO, a Chinese startup focusing on computer vision and artificial intelligence technology for the catering industry. The investment in AEYE-GO is Sodexo Ventures’ first in China, facilitated by a partnership with Shanghai-based incubator X-Node signed in May 2018.

AEYE-GO is a self-checkout system based on AI image recognition technology, offering both tray and facial recognition options for fast and personalized check-outs. According to the announcement, AEYE-GO plans to expand operations in China and internationally, leveraging Sodexo’s geographic reach to rapidly scale up. The system is currently being piloted at several Sodexo sites in Shanghai.

“The partnership between Sodexo Ventures and AEYE-GO in China is an exciting development in our digital journey, and demonstrates our commitment to working with start-ups in local markets with potential to transform the industry,” said Belen Moscoso Del Prado, chief digital and innovation officer at Sodexo. “China is an epicenter of innovation, and we are proud to partner with the creative team behind AEYE-GO to bring artificial intelligence and the power of data to our industry.”

Sodexo was founded in Marseille in 1966 and is a global leader in services that improve quality of life. It is the 19th largest employer worldwide with 460,000 employees in 72 countries and 20.4 billion euro in consolidated revenues.

Self-checkout systems are growing in popularity. Retail self-checkout machine maker NCR will be piloting facial recognition technology from Yoti in its “FastLane” tills for age verification of people buying alcohol and cigarettes at UK supermarkets this year. Lenovo has opened an unstaffed convenience store which uses facial recognition to automatically charge customer accounts and Asian-American supermarket chain iFresh has agreed to become the exclusive distributor of biometric retail payments and unmanned smart retail technology from Xiamen Yidong Intelligent Technology Co. in the Americas.

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