Pure-play digital grocer Farmstead brings fresh, local groceries to customers from farm to fridge in 60 minutes. Now the AI-powered grocer has partnered with Udelv to make those deliveries using autonomous delivery vehicles.
Farmstead began a pilot with autonomous delivery van (ADV) company Udelv in September, testing the customer experience of delivering via self-driving vans on select routes in the Bay Area, CA. The pilot will soon be extended to other Farmstead delivery areas. In the short term, each van has a safety operator per California regulations.
Here’s how it works: Customers who have opted-in to autonomous delivery are notified when the vehicle pulls up to their door. They tap a code via SMS. A dedicated compartment opens up, and the customer picks up his or her bagged groceries. Once empty, the compartment closes and the vehicle is routed to its next delivery.
“While many services have talked about making deliveries via autonomous vehicles, Farmstead is actually doing it,” said Farmstead CEO and co-founder Pradeep Elankumaran. “We envision a future where autonomous delivery is the norm in our space rather than the exception. This technology will help us be more efficient, enabling us to get fresh groceries into our customers’ homes even faster and cheaper than before. Customers who have already experienced our autonomous vehicle delivery have been blown away – with Udelv’s help, we can’t wait to bring it to all our service areas.”
“Farmstead moved quickly to take advantage of the benefits of autonomous vehicle delivery – we were able to get our pilot up and running in just a few weeks,” said Udelv CEO Daniel Laury. “We’re really excited to be working with such an innovative partner, as we think grocery delivery is a perfect use case for Udelv’s self-driving vans – getting fresh and sometimes delicate items to customers quickly.”