London online supermarket Ocado began delivering goods using unmanned trucks. Large online-retailer decided to implement such experiment as a part of its strategy for the automation of deliveries. A small truck was designed by the Oxford Company Oxbotica.
Thus, in practice, the opportunity to implement supermarket plans to create the so-called "Intellectual platform" will be explored. It is supposed to be a commercial online store that can compete with such famous sites as Amazon and Walmart. The standard Ocado truck, along with the driver, can carry out about 80 deliveries per day.
If to use an unmanned version, then the number of possible shipments will decrease by approximately 10 times, but buyers will have to go out of the house to pick up their order from transport. However, the curator of the program of autonomous delivery, David Sharp, says that this approach allows to change the market completely: unmanned trucks will deliver orders faster, and the costs of online supermarket will decrease.
During the experiment, an autonomous truck was accompanied by two people: one is Oxbotica employee, who solves technical problems in case of something, and the other - Ocado employee, who tells customers the essence of the new delivery service. The principle of autonomous delivery is simple enough: at first the customer receives a notification that his order is loaded on a truck, and then another notification about its arrival to his house. After that, a customer needs to press the cell unlock button on the smartphone to pick up the ordered product.
Both Ocado and Oxbotica hope that the system will be fully ready for commercial launch by 2019. The successful Ocado Smart platform can turn out to be revolutionary both for the whole retail business and for the company that was founded in April 2000.