Innovation That Matters

Self-driving delivery vehicles

Autonomous grocery store brings food at consumers' doorstep


US-based startup is building a fleet of self-driving vehicles powered by an on-demand ordering system.

The market for autonomous vehicles just took a leap forward with the start of a pilot programme for the world’s first on-demand, self-driving grocery store. No more going to the store for your shopping, now the store will come to you. Although the worldwide grocery industry is worth nearly USD 1 trillion, less than 5 percent of grocery sales currently take place online. Robomart is building a fleet of autonomous delivery vehicles designed like mini-stores, which they will license to retailers. Customers will use an app to request the nearest Robomart. Once it arrives, they unlock the doors and chose what they want. When done, they simply close the doors and the Robomart moves on to the next customer. The Robomart will track what customers take using proprietary “grab and go” technology, and customers will be charged automatically and sent a receipt.

The stores are the brainchild of entrepreneur Ali Ahmed, the founder of Lutebox, an award winning app that lets users shop via chat. The prototype premiered at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show on January 9, 2018, and the company is in the process of applying for their California Autonomous Vehicle Testing Permit and License. The company is currently accepting applications from retailers wanting to sponsor the pilot program in the San Francisco Bay Area. Robomarts will be fully electric, and the company is partnering with a leading wireless EV charging station provider. In addition to convenience, Robomart claims the system will allow retailers to expand their store footprint with no initial capital expenditure, as well as provide significant consumer data and insight into sales and consumption patterns.

We have already seen attempts to innovate in the grocery business, with an automated, 24-hour grocery store and an automated dynamic pricing system that charges less for food about to expire.



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