Ocado Group has announced a partnership and £10m investment in autonomous mobility start-up Wayve to accelerate the development of driverless grocery deliveries for Ocado Smart Platform (OSP) retailers globally.
The collaboration includes an autonomous delivery trial in the UK that will see Wayve’s technology fitted onto a selection of Ocado delivery vans and trialed on urban delivery routes for 12 months.
A portion of Ocado’s existing delivery fleet will also be outfitted with Wayve’s data collection devices to provide data for training and validating Wayve’s technology.
Alex Harvey, chief of advanced technology, Ocado Group, said: “Ocado is on a journey to develop highly intelligent autonomous mobility systems to further transform the operational economics, and proposition, of the Ocado Smart Platform for our OSP retail partners.
“We’ve been impressed with Wayve’s approach to solving this most complex of challenges and are excited to accelerate our capabilities so that our retail partners globally can take advantage of them at the earliest opportunity.”
Wayve’s deep-learning and camera-first technology has been designed to adapt to new, unstructured, highly complex environments, without the need for pre-programming, human-designed rules, or high definition mapping.
According to the company, the upcoming trial will help Ocado explore how Wayve’s systems can handle congested streets and challenging manoeuvres that last-mile delivery technology must be equipped to navigate.
Alex Kendall, CEO of Wayve, said: “Globally, there is huge momentum to transform mobility in grocery operations right now. We are focused on delivering an autonomous last mile solution to support the needs of grocery retailers everywhere.
“Through this partnership with Ocado Group we aim to unlock autonomous delivery faster in more places worldwide.”