San Jose Tests World’s First Self-Driving Grocery Delivery Cars
Self-driving startup AutoX has joined forces with GrubMarket to test drive its fleet of automated grocery delivery vehicles. Advertising its innovative service as “the grocery run of the future,” the company hopes to offer a faster, cheaper alternative to conventional food shopping.
AutoX has modeled the cars after traditional autos rather than a sidewalk delivery robot, like some other startups are using. This enables the cars to have enough room for temperature control equipment and multiple grocery orders.
The cars also use high-resolution cameras rather than LIDAR. Not only is this technology more effective at detecting pedestrians and pets on the route, but it’s also more affordable.
Currently, the total cost of an outfitted car is $80K and it has a projected lifespan of a few years. Once the technology progresses past the point of needing a human backup driver, the automated cars should be more cost-effective than conventional delivery vehicles with human drivers.
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If the current pilot in San Jose goes well, grocery stores could start incorporating the AutoX vehicles. The food industry could also shift to warehouses instead of retail stores, which would help keep costs low.
Besides California, three other states — Texas, Arizona, and Nevada — have either established or are working to establish legislation for testing and deploying fully autonomous vehicles. If current tests in San Jose prove successful, it’s likely that these three states will initiate AutoX pilots of their own.
It’s definitely exciting news for all of us who dislike going to the grocery store. We await more details in the days ahead as the AutoX cars complete their test phase.
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News Source: Fast Company