Stop & Shop, Quincy, Mass., launched driverless grocery vehicles in the Greater Boston area. Beginning in the spring, the vehicles will bring a selection of Stop & Shop produce, meal kits and convenience items directly to consumers, so they can shop right at their doorsteps.
The vehicles, produced by San Francisco-based Robomart, will address consumers’ desires to select their own fresh produce when shopping online or mobile.
“This is one way in which we’re leveraging new technology to make shopping easier for our customers, by essentially bringing the store to them,” says Mark McGowan, president of Stop & Shop. “We also recognize that many of our customers want the opportunity to make their own choices when it comes to fresh produce, and we're proud to be the first retailer to engage with Robomart to address our customers’ needs with their cutting-edge solution.”
Stop & Shop customers in the Boston area can summon a Robomart vehicle with a smartphone app. Upon the Robomart vehicle’s arrival, customers head outside, unlock the vehicle’s doors, then personally select the fruits, vegetables and other products they would like to purchase. When finished shopping, they just close the doors and send the vehicle on its way. The vehicles’ RFID and computer vision technology automatically records what customers select to provide a checkout-free experience, and receipts are e-mailed within seconds.
“For decades, consumers had the convenience of their local greengrocer and milkman coming door to door, and we believe that by leveraging driverless technology, we can recreate that level of convenience and accessibility,” says Ali Ahmed, founder and CEO of Robomart. “We’re extremely excited to bring our vision to life with Stop & Shop, one of the most pioneering and forward-thinking grocery chains in the world.”
All Robomart vehicles are autonomous, electric and will be remotely piloted from a Robomart facility. Throughout the journey, the tele-operated vehicles will be re-stocked with fresh Stop & Shop goods.