Watch: Asda launches largest self-drive grocery delivery trial

Asda has partnered with Wayve for the UK’s largest autonomous grocery home shopping delivery trial.

The year-long pilot programme will allow the supermarket to test self-drive grocery deliveries to a catchment area of over 170,000 residents across 72,000 households in London.

Based at the Park Royal superstore in West London, the Wayve self-driving vehicles will join Asda’s existing online delivery operation. Customers can place their next-day delivery orders online as usual, the only difference is they could be randomly selected to have their order delivered in a self-driving vehicle.

Over the 12-month period of the trial, both an Asda staff member and a Wayve supervisory driver will also be in the vehicle for all deliveries, while Asda staff will load and unload the groceries as usual.

Asda, which also reintroduced its First Scan bonus last week, currently delivers more than 800,000 orders every week and the company said that this is the first UK trial to launch directly without diverging from the operation of the store’s online delivery processes.

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Asda also ran a trial wih Ocado late last year and this latest initiative follows a two-year partnership between the supermarket group and autonomous vehicle technology specialist Wayve, which said that its AV2.0 solution uses machine learning to enable its AI software to learn how to drive in any environment.

This means that the AV technology is not geo-fenced by maps or by pre-defined routing. Instead, Wayve said that it can drive anywhere autonomously within the urban domain, even if it had not visited a location before.

“Asda is always looking at new and innovative partnerships to improve delivery options for customers. We believe autonomous technology is an exciting opportunity to shape the future of delivery,” Asda, vice president of ecommerce, Simon Gregg said.

Alex Kendall, co-founder & CEO at Wayve, added: “The trial is a demonstration of how autonomy can meet fleet owner.”

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