Ocado to experiment with self-driving technology
The online retailer has unveiled plans to push into autonomous driving tech.
In a £10 million partnership with Oxford-based software company Oxbotica, Ocado plans to build self-driving vehicles and “kerb-to-kitchen robots”. The company previously developed robots that it has used in its fulfilment centres, and also tech that has been used in US retailer Kroger's warehouses and delivery vans.
Back in 2017, Oxbotica developed and tested a prototype called CargoPod, which could hold eight boxes and required customers to leave their houses to pick up their shopping.
In an announcement, Ocado's Chief of Advanced Tech Alex Harvey stated, “These solutions truly have the potential to transform both our and our partners’ customer fulfilment centres and service delivery operations while also giving all end customers the widest range of options and flexibility.”
These vehicles however won't be used to travel long distances, and will instead be used for "last-mile" deliveries - which would produce large amounts of savings - and will be restricted to low-speed urban or in restricted-access areas, due to regulatory and complexity reasons.
I don't see why Ocado couldn't just purchase the electric Rivian vans that Amazon is going to use, because not only will it be environmentally-friendly, but it will also save thousands of jobs and allow good workers to keep delivering products to our doorsteps.