Building on a partnership that began in 2021, Asda will now use Wayve self-driving vehicles in what is claimed to be the largest autonomous grocery home shopping delivery trial in the UK. The trial, which is scheduled to last for one year, will enable Asda to deliver groceries autonomously to 170,000 people in London.
Wayve’s self-driving vehicles will join the supermarket’s existing online delivery operation based at the Park Royal superstore in West London, and have the ability to drive themselves to customers’ homes. During the trial period, an Asda employee and a supervising Wayve safety driver will sit in the vehicle for deliveries.
The vehicles use Wayve’s AV2.0 solution that utilizes machine learning to train its artificial intelligence software to learn from experience to enable it to drive in all scenarios. As a result, the AV technology is not geo-fenced by highly detailed maps or pre-defined routes, allowing the vehicle to drive completely autonomously within urban areas, even to locations it has not previously visited. Furthermore, the system can monitor the road and identify hazards to ensure the vehicle can make safe decisions.
The launch of the self-driving vehicles for grocery deliveries follows a two-year partnership between Asda and Wayve, who aim to lead the way in developing the technology for the sector.
“We believe autonomous technology is an exciting opportunity to shape the future of delivery, not only at our Park Royal store but throughout our nationwide operation,” said Simon Gregg, Asda’s vice president of e-commerce. “Through our partnership with Wayve, we are trialing this technology to understand how it can assist our busy store operations, while also adding a unique, reliable and efficient option for Asda customers to have a whole range of products delivered to their doors.”
“We’re excited to partner with Asda on the largest urban autonomous grocery delivery trial in Europe,” added Alex Kendall, co-founder and CEO of Wayve. “The trial is a demonstration of how autonomy can meet fleet owner needs. We started developing our AV technology over five years ago; it’s incredible to see it delivering real value today as part of Asda’s daily operations.
“We value our work with Asda to build the foundations of future autonomous grocery delivery. Trials like this one accelerate our road to deployment. They provide the learning required to bring the benefits of AV technology to customers sooner while ensuring that businesses like Asda are prepared to deploy AVs at scale.”