Asda rides Wayve to autonomous delivery

Written by: Andrew Wade | Published:
(Credit: Wayve)

Supermarket giant Asda is teaming up with Cambridge spinout Wayve to trial autonomous last-mile grocery delivery.

Set to begin in early 2022, the trial will be the first of its kind on UK roads. Asda delivery vans will be equipped with Wayve’s autonomous driving system, which relies on cameras and a machine learning platform rather than expensive sensors such as Lidar. A Wayve Safety Driver will also be present in each van during the course of the 12-month trial, which will focus primarily on urban routes around London.

“We want to explore how autonomous vehicle technology can enhance our operating model as well as the experience for our colleagues and customers,” said Simon Gregg, vice president of Online Grocery at Asda.

“We are pleased to partner with Wayve on this trial. Over the course of the last year, demand for online groceries has grown significantly, and we continue to push new boundaries in terms of retail innovation and technologies that can help us develop the most sustainable last-mile solutions for our business.”

According to Wayve, its deep learning autonomous driving system can adapt quickly to different environments and routes, allowing it to operate in any city without the need for re-engineering. It describes itself as a ‘camera-first company’, relying on computer vision from surround cameras as the core source of sensory input for autonomous driving. As well as real-world testing with Jaguar I-Pace EVs in and around its London HQ, Wayve also uses fleet learning and simulation to build out its machine learning algorithms.

“Last-mile delivery represents an ideal first use case for the Wayve Driver, which can navigate the complexities of urban driving and easily adapt to new routes,” said Wayve CEO, Alex Kendall.

“We are excited to be working with Asda as our first commercial partner. They have a proven track record of delivering innovations in online grocery shopping that improve customer experiences. This makes them an ideal partner to support the development of autonomous vehicle technology.”

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