Ocado Group has announced a £10 million investment and a partnership with the UK autonomous mobility start-up Wayve to accelerate the development of autonomous grocery deliveries for complex urban environments.
Wayve’s advanced technology has the ability to adapt to new, unstructured, highly complex 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 trialled on urban delivery routes in the UK for 12 months.
This trial will help Ocado explore first-hand how Wayve can handle the congested streets and challenging manoeuvres that last-mile delivery technology must be equipped to navigate.
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, says: “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.”
Alex Kendall, CEO of Wayve says: “Ocado Group has been driving innovation in global grocery logistics for decades. Their cutting-edge approach to grocery operations and international reach aligns strongly with Wayve’s culture and global ambitions.”
He adds: “I am incredibly excited to collaborate with Ocado Group and learn from their vast expertise. Globally, there is huge momentum to transform mobility in grocery operations right now. We are focused on delivering an autonomous last mile solution to support the needs of grocery retailers everywhere. Through this partnership with Ocado Group we aim to unlock autonomous delivery faster in more places worldwide.”
Wayve has raised over $58M and is backed by Eclipse Ventures, Balderton Capital and prominent technology leaders such as Sir Richard Branson, Rosemary Leith and Yann LeCun.
The team is headquartered in London with their fleet of vehicles testing in cities across the UK. Wayve aims to be the first company to deploy autonomy in 100 cities.