Boston neighborhood grocer Stop & Shop and AV startup Robomart are planning to launch driverless grocery vehicles this spring. The vehicles will bring a selection of produce, meal kits, and convenience items directly to consumers’ doorsteps.
The idea is that the vehicles will enable consumers to select their own fresh produce online or through the new mobile experience to offer a convenient grocery shopping experience.
According to Hyundai Mobis, 4G network-based navigation programs currently offered by carriers and IT companies take several minutes to dozens of minutes to update the map and recalculate routes.
Stop & Shop customers in the Boston area can summon a Robomart vehicle with a smartphone app. Upon the Robomart vehicle’s arrival, customers head outside, unlock the vehicle’s doors, then personally select the fruits, vegetables, and other products they would like to purchase. When finished shopping, they just close the doors and send the vehicle on its way. The vehicles’ RFID and computer vision technology automatically record what customers select to provide a checkout-free experience. Receipts are e-mailed within seconds, says Stop & Shop.
All Robomart vehicles, according Stop & Shop, are autonomous, electric and will be remotely piloted from a Robomart facility. Throughout the journey, the teleoperated vehicles will be restocked with fresh Stop & Shop goods.
“This is one way in which we’re leveraging new technology to make shopping easier for our customers - by essentially bringing the store to them,” said Mark McGowan, Stop & Shop President. “We also recognize that many of our customers want the opportunity to make their own choices when it comes to fresh produce, and we're proud to be the first retailer to engage with Robomart to address our customers’ needs with their cutting-edge solution.”
“For decades, consumers had the convenience of their local greengrocer and milkman coming door to door, and we believe that by leveraging driverless technology we can recreate that level of convenience and accessibility,” added Ali Ahmed, Founder & CEO of Robomart.
Learn More: Robomart in self-driving action
About Mark Miller
Mark Miller is a contributing writer and assistant news editor for SAE International in Warrendale, PA. He has worked as a contributing technology writer and editor for IBM and other advanced information technology firms. His areas of concentration include artificial, intelligence, cybersecurity, analytics and Internet of Things technologies.