Farm to table? Let’s make it “farm to fridge.” In 60 minutes or less, please. And don’t bother with a human driver.
AI-powered digital grocer Farmstead has announced a new partnership with autonomous delivery van company Udelv. The companies began a pilot in September, testing the customer experience of grocery delivery via self-driving van on select routes in the Bay Area. (Each van has a safety operator at this point, in accordance with state law.) Otherwise, it’s a fairly hands-off process: Customers — who have opted in for autonomous delivery — receive a notification when the vehicle arrives. They enter a code via text message, and a dedicated compartment opens up to reveal the shopper’s goods. When the compartment is empty, it closes and the vehicle is on its way.
“While many services have talked about making deliveries via autonomous vehicles, Farmstead is actually doing it,” Farmstead CEO and co-founder Pradeep Elankumaran says. “We envision a future where autonomous delivery is the norm in our space rather than the exception. This technology will help us be more efficient, enabling us to get fresh groceries into our customers’ homes even faster and cheaper than before. Customers who have already experienced our autonomous vehicle delivery have been blown away — with Udelv’s help, we can’t wait to bring it to all our service areas.”