Online grocer Ocado has become the latest company to join the autonomous vehicle fray after it began testing its own driverless deliveries on the streets of London.
The UK retailer has partnered with Oxford-based Oxbotica to develop and test a small self-driving vehicle in Woolwich as it explores the viability of driverless grocery deliveries.
The test themselves are limited to the south-east London boroughs backstreets and will run for just ten days, delivering groceries and food items under the watchful eye of two human supervisors.
According to the Guardian, the ‘Cargo Pod’, as it has been dubbed, contains space for eight boxes, significantly less than the 80 which can currently be stored in its fully-featured vans and its driverless approach necessitates that customers must come out of their houses to collect their groceries themselves.
However, David Sharp, who is Head of Technology at Ocado, said that the company had a different vision for the Oxbotica-powered vehicles, with their quick and cheap convenience compared to full-blown delivery vans akin to the different between self-service checkouts and regular bills.
At the heart of the endeavour is Ocado’s ‘Smart Platform’, it’s off-the-shelf online grocery platform which company hopes to sell to grocers and retailers around the world looking to vye with the big guns.
Tying together its software, picking technology and warehouse expertise, the online grocer is banking on its white-label tech to support its future growth and profitability and secured its first customer, an unnamed European retailer, earlier this month.
Written by: Billy Wood
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