Farmstead, an AI-powered ‘digital grocer’, has announced a new partnership with Udelv that will see it become one of the first grocers in the US to make deliveries using autonomous delivery vehicles.
The company, which prides itself on delivering fresh, local groceries to customers in just 60 minutes, began a pilot with autonomous delivery van company Udelv last month to test the customer experience on select routes in the San Francisco Bay Area.
“While many services have talked about making deliveries via autonomous vehicles, Farmstead is actually doing it,” said the company’s CEO and co-founder Pradeep Elankumaran. “We envision a future where autonomous delivery is the norm in our space rather than the exception.”
Customers who have already tried the autonomous vehicle delivery service have been “blown away”, said Elankumaran, adding that Farmstead planned to expand the service.
Udelv CEO Daniel Laury said: “Farmstead moved quickly to take advantage of the benefits of autonomous vehicle delivery – we were able to get our pilot up and running in just a few weeks.
“We’re really excited to be working with such an innovative partner, as we think grocery delivery is a perfect use case for Udelv’s self-driving vans – getting fresh and sometimes delicate items to customers quickly.”
Customers who have opted in to the autonomous delivery service are notified when the vehicle pulls up to their door.
They tap a code sent via SMS, opening up a dedicated compartment in the autonomous delivery vehicle and giving them access to their groceries.
Once a delivery is completed, the compartment closes and the vehicle continues to its next delivery.