Online retailer Ocado has announced a partnership and £10m investment in autonomous mobility start-up Wayve to accelerate the development of autonomous grocery deliveries for complex urban environments.
Wayve’s advanced deep learning and camera-first technology is designed to adapt to new, unstructured, environments, without the need for pre-programming, human-designed rules, or high definition mapping.
The collaboration includes an autonomous delivery trial that will see Wayve’s technology fitted onto a selection of Ocado delivery vans and tested on urban delivery routes for 12 months. Ocado added this trial will help it explore first-hand how Wayve can handle congested streets and challenging manoeuvres that last-mile delivery technology must be equipped to navigate.
Furthermore, 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.”