Asda, the UK’s second-largest online supermarket, has teamed up with autonomous vehicle technology start-up Wayve to deliver groceries to customers via self-driving vehicles. The trial covers a catchment area of 72,000 households in London, making it the UK’s largest autonomous grocery home shopping delivery trial. Asda’s existing online delivery operation at the Park Royal superstore in West London will be joined by Wayve’s self-driving vehicles, which have the capability to drive themselves to customers’ homes. Asda customers can place their next-day delivery orders online and, during the 12-month trial, both an Asda colleague and a supervising Wayve safety driver will be in the vehicle when making deliveries.
“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, Vice President of eCommerce at Asda.
The trial enables seamless integration of Wayve’s automated driving technology into Asda’s daily operations. Wayve’s ‘AV2.0’ solution uses machine learning to train its AI software to learn from experience how to drive in any environment. This results in AV technology that is not geo-fenced by highly detailed maps or pre-defined routes and can autonomously drive anywhere in its urban domain, even to places it has never been to before. The system is designed to constantly monitor the road, identifying potential hazards and making the safest decisions possible.
“We’re excited to partner with Asda on the largest urban autonomous grocery delivery trial in Europe,” said Alex Kendall, Co-founder & CEO at 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.”
Asda and Wayve’s partnership began in 2021 and this trial is the latest development. While the Park Royal store is the first to benefit from this technology, Wayve will be able to offer autonomous delivery in further Asda locations should the trial be extended to other areas.