Ocado invest £10m in autonomous vehicle firm Wayve

Ocado has announced a partnership with and a £10 million investment in autonomous vehicle start-up Wayve.

The news comes after rival Asda also announced a partnership with the firm in September, which will see the supermarket test its autonomous technology on its delivery vehicles in London in early 2022.

Wayve's autonomous delivery technology will be used in a 12-month trial involving several of Ocado’s delivery vans, which will still be overseen by a human driver, on popular London routes.

A portion of Ocado’s fleet will also be installed with data collection devices that will collect information on how human drivers’ react to traffic, which Wayne will use to train its own software.

Ocado has been active in making investments in the autonomous vehicle space this year; in April, the online supermarket invested £10 million in UK self-driving vehicle business Oxbotica.

Ocado said the partnership will initially be UK-based but will be extended internationally to include its partnership with US grocery chain Kroger.

Other High Street chains are making investments in self driving technology; homeware and household goods chain wilko announced it is set to invest £3 million autonomous delivery company StreetDrone in September.

“We are on a journey to develop highly intelligent autonomous mobility systems to further transform the operational economics, and proposition, of the Ocado Smart Platform for our OSP retail partners,” said Alex Harvey, chief of advanced technology at Ocado Group. “We’ve been impressed with Wayve’s approach to solving this most complex of challenges and are excited to accelerate our capabilities so that our retail partners globally can take advantage of them at the earliest opportunity.”

Alex Kendall, chief executive at Wayve, said: “Ocado Group has been driving innovation in global grocery logistics for decades. Their cutting-edge approach to grocery operations and international reach aligns strongly with Wayve’s culture and global ambitions. I am incredibly excited to collaborate with Ocado Group and learn from their vast expertise. Globally, there is huge momentum to transform mobility in grocery operations right now.”

He added: “We are focused on delivering an autonomous last mile solution to support the needs of grocery retailers everywhere. Through this partnership we aim to unlock autonomous delivery faster in more places worldwide.”

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