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.

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Comments (4)

  • Very laudable... but the technology literally doesn't exist yet. I'm planning on spending my 70th birthday orbiting Saturn... my only hurdle being that it hasn't been done by a human being yet, and I'm not sure it even can be. Once someone has demonstrated an all singing, all dancing, fully autonomous driving system, then we can all potentially benefit from it, not just our local delivery businesses. At the moment, Tesla seems to be closest to the real thing, with a few others offering various lesser options, but none is fully autonomous yet, none.

      2 months ago
  • Obviously they don't read the news about Tesla self driving not working properly

      2 months ago
    • Tesla, and everyone else too. Tesla seems closest to the reality, but even they admit they're not there yet. Musk recently said they were, "chasing the 9s." In other words, the percentage points that the thing can manage all on its own...

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        2 months ago
    • I know that the likes of John Deere and other agricultural machinery companies can get self driving tractors and combine harvesters working without fault but they use a radar systems that have to be accurate to the inch so they can gather in...

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        2 months ago