Autonomous vehicle software and solutions company AutoX has now launched a pilot program centered around grocery delivery in San Jose. There are a total of two shopping experiences available, including a traditional delivery service and an at-home selection service. Both work through an AutoX mobile application. The first of those is fairly self-explanatory. Customers select the items they want to be delivered to their homes from within the app and then, after paying for the goods, those are loaded into a temperature-controlled self-driving car for delivery. On the other hand, the same vehicle will also have a pre-loaded store shelf built into the rear vehicle’s passenger side. Those will be set behind the windows, which roll down to accept business from customers. Essentially, a customer will be able to browse from the selected items and buy from their own home for a more spur-of-the-moment shopping experience.
The vehicles themselves are equipped with a system of high-resolution cameras and an in-house built set of algorithms that enable the vehicle to reliably detect children, pets, and other obstructions. The cameras are not only less expensive, but can also detect potentially dangerous situations from farther away than with LiDAR-specific systems, according to AutoX. Additionally, the company has incorporated a smart scheduling and fleet management technologies with the pilot vehicles to enable real-world testing of those systems. Those won’t necessarily be integral to the safety or operation of the vehicles but does provide a good opportunity to look for potential bugs under real-world circumstances.
For the time being, AutoX has partnered with GrubMarket and the locally-owned grocery store DeMartini. That gives customers a wide range of fresh, locally sourced products to choose from. Starting out with just two autonomous vehicles, covering approximately 400 homes in the northern portion of the city, AutoX plans to expand the service “every few weeks.” Phase two of the pilot will see the service launched in Mountain View and Palo Alto alongside the finalization of terms with more partner companies in the state. The company is also actively seeking partners to expand beyond that and is looking for even more unique ways that its vehicle platform and the app can help customers shop comfortably.