UK-based supermarket chain Asda has revealed plans to pilot an automated age verification solution at self-checkouts at some of its stores.

The retailer has installed self-checkout screens at its stores in Pudsey and Stevenage, with trials starting at the stores this week.

The screens are equipped with cameras designed to estimate customers’ ages accurately.

Customers can use the privacy-preserving age estimation technology only when purchasing alcohol.

The pilot is due to continue until the end of May and the technology will only be used for alcohol products.

Asda retail innovation senior director Geri Hebberd said: “We know how time-pressed some of our customers are, so we always want to make things quicker and easier for them when they shop with us.

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“We are excited to be the first retailer in the UK to test this new technology and are looking forward to seeing what our customers think of the trial.

“The use of this software will enable colleagues to focus on serving customers and make sure they have an excellent experience whilst in store.”

The trial is being conducted in partnership with checkout technology leaders NCR and digital identity network Yoti.

The initiative is part of a UK Home Office test to trial technologies that can assist with age verification when selling alcohol.

Customers can still prove their age through the Yoti and Post Office EasyID apps if the Asda system estimates that they are younger than 25 years.

Yoti CEO Robin Tombs said: “Our age verification solutions are helping retailers like Asda meet the requirements of regulators worldwide and keep pace with consumer demands for fast and convenient services while preserving people’s privacy.”

Asda is also allowing customers to verify their age manually by showing their ID to a store colleague if they so choose.