One never knows when the craving for carrots might strike, but when it does, Robomart can deliver. The self-driving, fully autonomous grocery store on wheels, introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year, delivers perishables directly to the consumer. The plan is for grocery stores to license the robots and platform. In return, the retailer would have access to the fleet management system for managing orders, routing, restocking and other operations. Grocers could manually communicate with customers, store staff and law enforcement if needed. It also would deliver real-time sales data and analytics, the company says.
Customers use an app to hail the closest robot. After it arrives, a door unlocks and cameras monitor what the customer takes; the customer is then charged accordingly.
The company says one of the biggest barriers to online grocery is that consumers don’t trust someone picking their bananas and avocados for them. With Robomart, customers would get the convenience of online delivery and the control of choosing their own items.
Whether it is the counterpunch to Amazon’s march to grocery domination remains to be seen. The company will pilot the program in California this summer, assuming it receives approval from regulators for the robots’ self-driving vehicle aspects.