Autonomous delivery vehicle (ADV) company udelv, has announced it has signed a landmark deal with Narnia Road and Esperanza Real Estate Investments, to supply Oklahoma City's largest local chain of grocery stores with self-driving delivery vans, the first grocery chain in the world to make such a large scale ADV investment. For more information see the IDTechEx report on Last Mile Electric Vehicles.
The agreement, which will see udelv supply supermarkets like Uptown Grocery, Buy For Less, Buy For Less Super Mercado and Smart Saver with an initial 10 customized cargo vans to service online deliveries in the OKC metro area, is the largest ADV deal in the world to date.
The first vehicle is due to be delivered in Q1, 2019 with the full fleet delivered by the end of June 2019. The custom-made cargo vans, which are the world's first ADVs for public road driving, will operate with safety drivers until both companies and regulators deem them approved for safe driverless operation.
The vehicles (SAE L4 (1) ADVs) will eventually cover thousands of miles of residential roads in what will be one of the largest autonomous driving deployments in the world.
The companies have also secured an exclusive dealership agreement with udelv for additional fleet vans to service other local merchants, residents, and potential pharmacies in underserved markets.
To accompany the commission of driverless vehicles, udelv and Esperanza Real Estate Investments will establish operations in Oklahoma City and create a state-of-the-art tele-operations center for the remote control and monitoring of the fleet.
Commenting on the deal, Susan Binkowski, CEO of Esperanza and co-owner of the BFL Grocery Company said: "This agreement and subsequent advent of ADV technology in Oklahoma City is a technological win for Oklahoma. We believe we exist to elevate communities and relationships, always striving to be innovative and forward thinking with decisions on how to serve our community. As a leading provider of grocery in Oklahoma, we are thrilled to add this new technology that enhances our ability to deliver food with excellence, service, and convenience to Oklahoma families. We are proud to be working with a visionary company committed to helping us pioneer the future of delivery technology."
udelv CEO, Daniel Laury said the deal was udelv's largest since launching its ADV in January 2018 and represented a massive technological breakthrough for Americans. "The partnership between udelv and Esperanza and the BFL Company of stores is a historic agreement and signals the start of ADVs making everyday life easier for Americans. We're proud to be working with a visionary company committed to helping us pioneer the future of delivery technology. Over the next several months, udelv will work with Esperanza, local authorities, regulators and more to master miles of roads in the Oklahoma City area to ensure our vehicles can provide safe, convenient and affordable delivery services to local communities. With over 700 deliveries on public roads with a safety driver already completed in the San Francisco Bay Area on behalf of more than ten paying clients, udelv has demonstrated its capability to safely pioneer this technology and proven the benefits to local retail and their customers in the community. But with this new milestone, the present deal puts Oklahoma City at the forefront of technology."
Secretary of Transportation and Oklahoma Department of Transportation Executive Director Oklahoma, Mike Patterson said a group was in place working toward integration of ADV technology. "Oklahoma is actively developing a strategy to integrate the technology of automation through the work of the Driving Oklahoma Working Group. It is exciting to set the basis to support innovations like this and work with companies such as the Buy For Less family of brands at the forefront of its industry," explained Patterson.
Source and top image: udelv