The UK’s first self-driving delivery vehicle trials have started in Greenwich under a project between Ocado and the TRL-led GATEway Project.
Taking place in Woolwich, the 10-day trial sees the CargoPod autonomous vehicle take to the roads to deliver grocery orders to over one hundred customers.
The CargoPod, developed by Oxbotica as part of the GATEway Project, is able to carry a total of 128kg of groceries at a time and is guided by the Selenium autonomy software system, although there is a ‘safety steward’ in the driver’s seat at all times.
The project will explore both the commercial opportunities of using self-driving vehicles for last-mile deliveries and how the technology functions alongside people in a residential environment.
Under the trial, customers are able to choose from three free gift hampers, with order managed by the Caesium fleet management software system. Customers are notified of the vehicle’s arrival and collect their groceries from the loading bay.
Simon Tong, principal research scientist (TRL) and technical lead for the GATEway project, said: “This trial with Ocado Technology provides an ideal platform to help us understand how and where these vehicles could best operate and whether people would accept, trust and like them as an automated delivery service in the city. We envisage that cities could benefit massively if deliveries could be made by quiet, zero-emission, automated vehicles when congestion is minimal.”