Ocado has paved the way for weekly household purchases to be delivered by robots after investing £ 10million in tech start-up Oxbotica.
The online supermarket, known for its high-tech warehouses, said it is looking to work with Oxbotica to create hardware and software for driverless vehicles.
The partnership will look to develop autonomous vehicles for “last mile deliveries and sidewalk robots in the kitchen,” Ocado said.
It is hoped that the application of artificial intelligence and machine learning to deliveries will reduce costs for customers.
Ocado said it will assemble teams of engineers to work with Oxbotica on multiple ways to use the Oxford-based startup’s technology.
The £ 10million investment is part of a £ 34million Series B funding round for Oxbotica, led by BP Ventures.
The move to greater automation will not affect Ocado’s current workforce or hiring plans, the company added.
However, in a stock market announcement outlining the reasons for the investment, Ocado pointed out that labor currently accounts for around 50 percent of delivery costs.
In addition to cutting costs, a new driverless fleet would reduce emissions by speeding up the shift to electric delivery vans, Ocado said.
The first prototypes of automated vehicles are expected “within two years”. Ocado predicts that driverless vehicles will be used in its warehouses before they begin to drop off their purchases to customers.
Initial development work will focus on UK operations and then expand to international markets where partners operate, Ocado told investors.
Alex Harvey, Chief Technology Officer at Ocado, said: “We are delighted with the opportunity to work with Oxbotica to develop a wide range of stand-alone solutions that truly have the potential to transform both our CFCs ( treatment of customers) and those of our partners. and service delivery operations, while providing all end customers with the widest range of options and flexibility. “
Paul Newman, Co-Founder and CTO of Oxbotica, said: “This is a great opportunity for Oxbotica and Ocado to strengthen our partnership, sharing our vision for the future of self-reliance.
“By combining the cutting edge knowledge and resources of both companies, we hope to bring our vision of universal self-reliance to life and continue to solve some of the world’s most complex self-reliance challenges.”
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This notice was published: 2021-04-16 13:18:41