Online grocer Ocado has said that it plans to invest £10 million (€11.47 million) in autonomous vehicle software company Oxbotica as part of a partnership that aims to reduce the cost of last-mile delivery and other logistics.
The partnership would include all aspects of autonomous vehicle development, Ocado said, although vehicles that operated in low-speed urban areas or in restricted access areas, such as inside its fulfillment centres, would become a reality sooner than fully-autonomous deliveries to consumers' homes.
"We are excited about the opportunity to work with Oxbotica to develop a wide range of autonomous solutions that truly have the potential to transform both our and our partners' CFC and service delivery operations, while also giving all end customers the widest range of options and flexibility," commented Alex Harvey, chief of advanced technology at Ocado.
The Ocado/Oxbotica relationship began in 2017, when the online grocer conducted a two-week trial using an early prototype delivery vehicle doing autonomous deliveries in Greenwich, London.
Since that initial trial, Oxbotica has 'made significant progress in developing its platform', Ocado said, leading to the announcement of a broader relationship.
"This is an excellent opportunity for Oxbotica and Ocado to strengthen our partnership, sharing our vision for the future of autonomy," commented Paul Newman, co-founder & CTO of Oxbotica.
"By combining both companies' cutting-edge knowledge and resources, we hope to bring our Universal Autonomy vision to life and continue to solve some of the world's most complex autonomy challenges."
In addition to this collaboration with Oxbotica, Ocado, which announced positive first quarter results last month. said that it will continue to seek further investments and/or partnerships as it grows and develops its autonomous vehicle capabilities.