Is this the future of grocery delivery?
British online supermarket Ocado has been testing an electric, self-driving delivery van called CargoPod in south-east London. The vehicle, built by U.K. tech firm Oxbotica, is equipped with eight compartments that can carry a total weight of 128kg. The CargoPod is intended for short journeys or last minute deliveries within urban centres.
Ocado’s chief technology officer Paul Clarke told Fortune.com the technology would be in place to roll out by 2021. “It’s not going to become ubiquitous but there are certain areas where it makes sense to do this,” he said, adding that Ocado will need to see how potential barriers in legislation and insurance develop.
Ocado isn’t the only company testing autonomous delivery. Postmates in Washington, D.C. is using knee-high, six-wheeled robots to bring takeout food and groceries to customers.
The robots use sensors and cameras to navigate sidewalks and cross the street. Initially, the robots will be accompanied by a person, but eventually their progress will be monitored remotely.
Here’s a look at the CargoPod in action…