After the self-driving shopping store in China, here is another version of the same concept that already roams the streets of London.
Autonomous delivery vehicles are part of a trial and study by the University of Oxford in collaboration with Oxbotica and Ocado Technologies, which is a part of the UK-based online-only supermarket.
The van is called the CargoPod, and is aimed at creating an emission-free, electric self-driving van, which will deliver online orders to the customers and act as the last step in the automated customer service chain. The trial is backed by government’s GATEway Project and is currently limited to a few developments in the Royal Borough of Greenwich.
The CargoPod uses Oxbotica’s Selenium autonomous control system, which is a multi-functional, semi-autonomous driving system that requires human operators at the moment. The system will go towards complete autonomy, although UK law requires autonomous test vehicles to have human drivers in case something goes wrong, a law similar to the one in the United States.
Besides testing the self-driving system, the team is also focused on measuring people’s reaction to a self-driving car motoring around in their residential neighborhood and customers finding driverless delivery cars pulling up to their doorstep with the order.
The pilot program has already made over a hundred deliveries around London, and we can’t wait for the program to expand to our cities. This might come soon enough considering how big tech players like Amazon are also stepping into the automated delivery realm.