Driverless grocery store headed to Boston

Stop & Shop says it will start piloting Robomart-powered vehicles this spring

Stop & Shop branded driverless grocery store powered by Robomart.Stop & Shop branded driverless grocery store powered by Robomart.

Stop & Shop is looking into bringing the grocery store to its customers.

The Quincy, Mass.-based grocery chain, which operates under Ahold Delhaize USA, announced it would begin testing driverless grocery vehicles in Boston this spring, combining the hype of autonomous delivery cars, cashier-less stores and meal kits into one experimental pilot.

The launch is part of a partnership with San Francisco-based startup Robomart, whose vehicles will cart around Stop & Shop items like produce, convenience items, and meal kits to customers’ doorsteps, according to The Verge, a technology news and media network.

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According to The Verge, the electric vehicles will be temperature-controlled to keep produce fresh and controlled remotely from a Robomart facility. Customers can hail the mini grocery stores via an app with an interface similar to Uber. Once the vehicle arrives, customers can unlock the doors and the items they grab are tracked with RFID and computer vision technology. When they’re done shopping, they can send the vehicle on its way, and a receipt is emailed soon after.

Stop & Shop is experimenting big with robots this year, as the chain recently deployed a fleet of robots to patrol its aisles in 500 GIANT, GIANT Martin’s, and Stop & Shop stores. The robots, created in partnership by Retail Business Services and Badger Technologies, are nicknamed “Marty” and roam around stores looking for spills and messes to clean up. The robots are equipped with sensors so they don’t bump into any shelves, and cameras to check when items are running low on stock.

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