Drones to deliver groceries or other stuff? Well, we’ve certainly heard about that, but have you heard about driverless vans delivering groceries? Well, this is now the case in London, where vehicles are making deliveries, with not only a trial program but also a study of the intentions and motives. This is lead by University of Oxford self-driving spin-off Oxbotica, as well as Ocado Technologies, a developmental division of the UK-based, online-only supermarket service.

The main objective of the project is to test out emission free, electric self-driving vans and is dubbed as CargoPod. For now, the trial is limited to only a few developments. The CargoPod system is based upon Oxbotica’s Selenium autonomous control system, which is developed not only for these self-driving vehicles but for many other vehicle types. For now, however, the vehicles are not fully independent, meaning that there is still some sort of human input which is required. So, human operators are still there. There is a requirement also in the UK which states that autonomous test vehicles have to have someone to take control, in case anything at all goes wrong. So, human input is crucial.

Even though this trial has the main purpose to judge upon a self-driving system, it is not just limited to this. The team that is behind this project wants to see exactly how much such of an impact such a system might have on the cities, and just how quickly it settles into the residential neighborhoods. Not only this, but the project also aims to see just how real-world customers might react to having groceries delivered to their homes in a vehicle in which no one is present.


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