UK online grocery Ocado is taking a £10 million stake in Oxford based autonomous driving systems startup Oxbotica.
Ocado says logistics costs constitute the single-largest line item in the operating cost structure of online grocery.
And “through the development of autonomous vehicles in partnership with Oxbotica, we see potential cost savings within core operations and significant opportunities to improve our partners’ customer proposition.”
Alex Harvey, Chief of Advanced Technology at Ocado Group says, “We are excited to develop a wide range of autonomous solutions that truly have the potential to transform both our and our partners’ operations.”
Harvey describes the £10m investment as the start of a multi-year collaboration, enhancing and integrating Oxbotica’s autonomous mobility software solutions to a variety of vehicles.
Use-cases range from vehicles that operate inside packing warehouses and the yard areas that surround them, all the way to last-mile deliveries and kerb-to-kitchen robots. Early prototypes are expected within two years but are initially likely to be vehicles operating on private land in closed and controlled environments.
The timing of the news came within a day of Walmart in the US taking a stake in Cruise, another autonomous tech company.