Ordering food online and having it delivered is nothing new, but CargoPod has come up with a bit of a twist. CargoPod is an autonomous grocery delivery vehicle that brings your groceries to your door. The project is developed by a spinoff of the University of Oxford, Oxbotica. The vehicle is not unlike other self-driving vehicles equipped with lidar sensors and an array of cameras to help it get through traffic and obstacles. Don’t worry though, U.K. law requires there be a human behind the wheel just in case CargoPod decides to deviate from its program.
The CargoPod has eight compartments (pods) that can hold up to three bags of groceries. When the vehicle arrives at its delivery destination, the customer is alerted through their smartphone and they come out to retrieve their goods. The groceries and vehicles are both loaded up by human workers at a distribution center, some of which are larger, traditional vans or trucks.
Like other automated delivery trials in the past, such as those carried out by Amazon’s drones, the operation has a whiff of gimmick. Orders are limited to three food packs containing non-perishable goods like dried fruits or chocolate cookies, the trial will last only 10 days, and the delivery is limited to the bounds of Berkeley Homes, a gated residential development in Woolwich with limited traffic.
But this is designed to be more a proof of concept than a real commercial offering right now.
Automated delivery of goods is something many companies are working on. Amazon and their drones are a good example. As MIT points out, this is probably not a viable service at the moment and is more of a pitch than anything. I’d be interested to find out just how many people would actually want an automated delivery system for their goods. Although, we sort of have that with UPS, FedEx, and the Postal Service delivering all of our Amazon purchase now. One wonders how long before actual physical stores are gone.
Last Updated on July 16, 2017.