Later this year, H-E-B, San Antonio, Texas, will launch a pilot program to test delivery service from a vehicle with self-driving technology.
The retailer will use one autonomous van with driverless technology, which will serve customers near its Olmos Park H-E-B, just north of downtown San Antonio.
“Our success starts with our people, who provide exceptional hospitality and drive us to open more engaging stores that offer a world-class shopping experience,” says Craig Boyan, president. “We’re committed to winning through people and hiring more people, and we’re adding necessary skills to become both a better tech company and even stronger brick-and-mortar retailer.”
To test the self-driving technology, H-E-B will source one autonomous delivery vehicle (ADV) from Udelv, Burlingame, Calif. The ADV boasts climate-controlled compartments that can hold multiple orders of fresh, frozen and dry goods, and can travel at city street and highway speeds.
“Companies like H-E-B are taking the first steps to explore the benefits autonomous deliveries can bring to their customers and employees,” says Daniel Laury, chief executive officer of Udelv. “As the most loved retailer in Texas, H-E-B is an amazing partner for Udelv, as we scale our Autodeliv service and work to make deliveries faster and safer. We look forward to serving the people of Texas with Newton, our second-generation ADV.”
During the first phase of the pilot, the ADV will have a driver. If the initiative is expanded, the retailer will implement a multi-phased rollout to give the technology time to learn the safest, most efficient routes, which will eventually lead to the ADV becoming fully driverless.
For the pilot, which will initially involve one ADV, select customers can sign up to receive deliveries from the autonomous vehicle during the test period.
“At H-E-B, we continue to evaluate and utilize innovative technologies in all parts of our business,” says Paul Tepfenhart, senior vice president of omnichannel and emerging technologies at Central market and H-E-B. “As a leading digital-retail leader in Texas, we will continue to grow our partner population as well as technology presence to complement our store operations, enabling customers to choose how they shop, pay for and receive products.”