The Texas-based supermarket chain, H-E-B, the largest in the state, is teaming up with Udelv, a California autonomous delivery company, to launch their first pilot program together later this year.
The program aims to deliver H-E-B's supermarket goods driver-free.
To begin with, the pilot program will run out of one of H-E-B's grocery stores in San Antonio, Texas. Tt will deliver to residents in Olmos Park and have only one autonomous car. Moreover, as the pilot program launches, there will be a driver in the car, for safety and technical purposes.
We're excited to share today that later this year, we will launch a pilot program to test delivery service from a vehicle with self-driving technology. https://t.co/zwhFnscwjc— H-E-B (@HEB) July 10, 2019
Udelv is providing a Newton second-generation autonomous delivery vehicle for the program, which they have already used in-service trials in the Bay Area, Arizona, and Houston.
Daniel Laury, Udelv's CEO and Founder said they are excited to be partnering with H-E-B, as the company has a wide reach in Texas with its 400+ stores.
As Laury commended H-E-B, "They're really at the forefront of technology, in the areas where they need to be, it's a very impressive company."
#udelv continues its expansion. After Walmart, XL Parts and Microsoft, Udelv announces deal with H-E-B in San Antonio, TX.#autonomousdelivery #delivery #selfdrivingcars #driverlesscarshttps://t.co/4L0jmQDVU3— udelv (@udelv_av) July 10, 2019
So, for the select customers that will be able to sign up for the trial program, your eggs, carrots, bread and ice cream will all make their way to your front door in perfectly chilled separate conditions.
A rather neat delivery, much like the one in the H-E-B's entertaining commercial video below. Although we hope we won't have to wait that long to receive our goods!
Innovative technologies for increased convenience
As H-E-B's press release states, they are hoping to increase convenience, reduce costs, streamline operational efficiencies, and create jobs.
They are currently the largest privately-held employer in Texas, and underline the importance of the 116,000 people who work with and for them.
The company's focus will be on adapting roles and skills for people as these autonomous cars and ways of operating roll out.
Paul Tepfenhart, the senior vice-president of Omnichannel and Emerging Technologies at Central Market and H-E-B, said: "At H-E-B we continue to evaluate and utilize innovative technologies in all parts of our business."
He continued, "As a leading digital-retailer leader in Texas, we will continue to grow our Partner (colleague) population as well as technology presence to complement our store operations, enabling customers to choose how they shop, pay for and receive products."