The purpose of this partnership is to collaborate on hardware and software interfaces for autonomous vehicles, enhancing and integrating Oxbotica’s autonomy software platform into a variety of vehicles.
The use cases range from vehicles that operate inside of Ocado’s Customer Fulfilment Centre buildings and the yard areas that surround them, all the way to last-mile deliveries and kerb-to-kitchen robots.
The multi-year partnership started in 2017 when Ocado Group conducted a two-week trial using an early prototype vehicle doing autonomous deliveries in Greenwich, London.
Oxbotica’s products use an advanced set of AI, machine learning and optimisation technologies to yield a low-power, safe, explainable, quick-to-deploy, modular and completely flexible “Universal Autonomy” platform.
Ocado sees multiple benefits by developing this technology such as potential cost savings within its core operations and the opportunity to improve its partners’ customer proposition by being better able to respond to peak delivery demands, reducing the cost-to-serve of its immediacy proposition, and accelerating the shift to electrically powered vehicles.
The online grocery platform expects to see the first prototypes of some early use cases for autonomous vehicles within two years. The company will invest £10 million in Oxbotica.
As part of this collaboration, Ocado will equip a subset of its delivery vans and warehouse vehicles with data capture capabilities, which may include video cameras, LiDAR, RADAR and other sensing devices. Ocado will make this data available to Oxbotica to train and test its technologies, which will then inform Ocado as to what opportunities exist and where best it might take advantage of these exciting new partnerships.
This partnership is seen as a great way to showcase Oxbotica’s technology and bring autonomous driving closer to reality, according to Paul Newman, Co-Founder & CTO of Oxbotica.
“This is an excellent opportunity for Oxbotica and Ocado to strengthen our partnership, sharing our vision for the future of autonomy,” he said. “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.”
As we reported, Oxbotica has been working to create vehicles which are capable of Level 4 autonomous driving that uses a mix of radars, cameras and lasers to navigate and localise rather than relying solely on GPS.