wilko to invest £3m in autonomous delivery firm StreetDrone

Homeware and household goods chain wilko is set to invest £3 million autonomous delivery company StreetDrone.

The Oxford-based company was founded in 2017 by Mark Preston and Mike Potts and claims to be the first company to offer subscription-based autonomous driving software.

wilko said the investment - which is part of a wider pre-Series A funding round - will allow StreetDrone to accelerate the development of its autonomous delivery vehicle and systems.

StreetDrone aims to deploy driverless delivery vehicles on UK roads by the end of 2023 and said it is working with UK-based vehicle safety agencies on defining the standards the vehicles must adhere to.

The firm’s first autonomous delivery vehicle is called “Pix-e”, a small electric vehicle around the size of a Renault Twizy.

Autonomous delivery is continuing to attract interest from large organisations; the Royal Mail announced it will trial the first autonomous scheduled drone flights between the UK mainland and an island in May.

“Autonomous vehicles are the future of automated logistics, and StreetDrone is undoubtedly one of the key players that will lead the way in making this technology viable,” said Jerome Saint-Marc, chief executive at wilko. “It has gone from strength to strength over the last four years and is one of the companies that’s putting the UK on the map in developing this type of game-changing technology.”

He adds: “One of the key reasons why we’re backing the team at StreetDrone is that this sort of transformative technology can have a huge and positive impact for hard working families – and it’s this ethos that runs through all of our work at wilko.”

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