Asda has partnered with Wayve to launch the largest self-driving grocery home delivery trial in the UK.
The year-long trial will give the Big 4 grocer the ability to autonomously deliver groceries to a catchment area of over 170,000 residents across 72,000 households in London.
Wayve’s vehicles will join Asda’s existing online delivery operation at the Park Royal superstore in West London.
Although one of the supermarkets colleagues and a Wayve supervising safety driver will be in the vehicle when making deliveries for the duration of the trial period, colleagues will only load and unload groceries, as the vehicle will be self-driving.
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The partnership will use Wayve’s ‘AV2.0’ solution, which uses machine learning to train its AI software to learn from experience how to drive in any environment.
The system is designed to constantly monitor the road, identify potential hazards and make the safest decisions possible.
“Asda has long understood the value of bringing tech innovation to the online grocery sector and we are always looking at new and innovative partnerships to improve delivery options for customers,” Asda vice president of ecommerce, Simon Gregg said.
“We believe autonomous technology is an exciting opportunity to shape the future of delivery, not only at our Park Royal store but throughout our nationwide operation.”
Gregg added that through the partnership, Asda is trialling the technology “to understand how it can assist our busy store operations, whilst also adding a unique, reliable and efficient option for Asda customers to have a whole range of products delivered to their doors.”
Wayve co-founder and CEO, Alex Kendall said: “The trial is a demonstration of how autonomy can meet fleet owner needs. We started developing our AV technology over five years ago: it’s incredible to see it delivering real value today as part of Asda’s daily operations.”
“Trials like this one accelerate our road to deployment. They provide the learnings required to bring the benefits of AV technology to customers sooner while ensuring that businesses, like Asda, are prepared to deploy AVs at scale.”