Stop & Shop is to roll out "driverless grocery vehicles" in the Greater Boston area this spring.
The self-driving, mini grocery stores will bring consumers produce from the grocer in addition to meal kits and other convenience items, and will allow people to shop from their front doors.
The service is the result of a collaboration with Robomart, a San Francisco based startup that has developed fully electric vehicles that use driverless technology.
The Robomart vehicles contain a range of technologies that allow them to deliver groceries, including a checkout-free system and refrigeration and temperature controls.
Stop & Shop Customers in the Boston area will be able to use their smartphone to "summon" a Robomart vehicle, the business said Wednesday. When the vehicle arrives at their home, they will be able to unlock the doors and select the products – including fruit and vegetables – they want to buy. Once they have chosen their produce, they shut the vehicle's door and it moves on.
"For decades, consumers had the convenience of their local greengrocer and milkman coming door to door, and we believe that by leveraging driverless technology we can recreate that level of convenience and accessibility," Ali Ahmed, Robomart's founder and CEO, said in a statement.
The system is checkout free, and the Robomart vehicle will use technology to record the products selected by the customer before emailing them a receipt in seconds.
"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," Mark McGowan, the president of Stop & Shop, said in a statement.
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