UK-based online grocery platform Ocado has entered a strategic collaboration with autonomous mobility start-up Wayve.
Ocado Group is investing £10m ($13.6m) in Wayve to expedite the development of autonomous grocery deliveries.
The partners will pilot autonomous delivery on urban routes by integrating Wayve’s technology into Ocado delivery vans.
Some of Ocado’s existing delivery fleet will also be equipped with Wayve’s data collection devices, which will provide data for training and validating Wayve’s technology.
The trial is intended to help Ocado understand how Wayve’s technology can navigate congested streets and the more complex manoeuvres involved in last-mile deliveries.
Ocado Group advanced technology chief Alex Harvey said: “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 (OSP) 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.”
Wayve CEO Alex Kendall said: “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’s deep learning and camera-first technologies are designed to adjust easily to new, unstructured, highly complex environments.
They do not require pre-programming, manually designed rules or high-definition mapping.
Last month, the company announced a partnership with British supermarket chain Asda to pilot the use of autonomous delivery vans in London.
A 12-month trial is due to start next year, making Asda the first retailer to test the solution commercially.