Online grocery retailer Ocado has unveiled a major push into autonomous driving technology.
It has teamed up with another British company, Oxbotica, to build self-driving vehicles for itself and others who use its platform. That could include automatic forklift trucks at warehouses, self-driving delivery vans, or even “kerb to kitchen” robots for the final leg. As part of the deal, Ocado has bought a £10m stake in Oxbotica. Together, they say they plan to build hardware and software for autonomous vehicles.
In recent years, Ocado has tried to project itself as a technology platform to be used by global retailers, rather than just an online grocery store. It has developed robots that now pick and pack groceries at its state-of-the-art fulfillment centers, and this week, America’s Kroger supermarket chain unveiled its first warehouse using the Ocado technology.
But sceptics will wonder how motorists will feel about sharing the roads with driverless vans, let alone what customers will think about a robot telling you that the avocados are out of stock and you’re getting oranges instead.