Moby Mart takes high-tech convenience to the streets

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Take a deep breath: Per Cromwell, chief technology officer of Wheelys, has said the company dream is “an entire fleet of self-driving, staffless stores … reviving the countryside and our inner cities.”

The vehicle to get there may well be Wheelys Moby Mart, an autonomous, staffless mobile convenience store that is open 24 hours a day, every day, with no lines and no checkout. It runs on electric powered by solar, features artificial intelligence hologram assistants, travels to various locations and even includes drones for larger deliveries. And everything is accomplished via app.

In the future, according to the company, Moby Marts will be able to restock themselves and be routed to spots with high demand at a particular time. Moby Mart, being developed along with China’s Hefei University and Himalafy, has been in beta tests in Shanghai, but don’t write that off as too far away: Sweden-based parent company Wheelys is a chain of organic bicycle cafes that launched in 2014 with the goal of enabling all people to own their own businesses.

A Wheelys cafe costs just $3,000 to start. Coffee is the original offering, but additional modules allow a juice bar, crepe stand or ice cream kiosk. There are now more than 900 cafes in 73 countries. In addition, compact Wheelys247 supermarkets have been in beta tests in Sweden, also shopped by app with no lines and no checkout.

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