Big quote: “This is one way in which we’re leveraging new technology to make shopping easier for our customers – by essentially bringing the store to them,” said Mark McGowan, Stop & Shop President.
East coast grocery chain Stop & Shop announced that it would begin testing autonomous mobile grocery vendors sometime this spring. The pilot program will start in Boston and uses driverless vehicles to bring the store to the customer.
San Francisco startup Robomart produces the vehicles. Stop & Shop will stock the carts with fresh produce, convenience items, and meal kits. Customers will be able to summon the robo-vendors via a smartphone app.
Each vehicle is electric-powered and refrigerated. The mobile stores are controlled remotely from a Robomart facility. When the cart arrives, the doors will unlock for the customer and items are tracked and charged to the app via RFID and computer vision technology, so no shoplifting.