San Francisco-based autonomous delivery vehicle (ADV) company Udelv, has announced it has signed a deal with Narnia Road and Esperanza Real Estate Investments, to supply Oklahoma City’s (OKC) largest local chain of grocery stores with self-driving delivery vans, the first grocery chain in the world to make such a large scale ADV investment.
The agreement will see Udelv supply supermarkets like Uptown Grocery, Buy For Less, Buy For Less Super Mercado, and Smart Saver with an initial 10 customized cargo vans to service online deliveries in the OKC metro area.
The first vehicle is due to be delivered in Q1, 2019 with the full fleet delivered by the end of June 2019. The custom-made cargo vans, which are the world’s first ADVs for public road driving, will operate with safety drivers until both companies and regulators deem them approved for safe driverless operation.
The vehicles will eventually cover thousands of miles of residential roads in what will be one of the largest autonomous driving deployments in the world.
The companies have also secured an exclusive dealership agreement with Udelv for additional fleet vans to service other local merchants, residents, and potential pharmacies in underserved markets.
To accompany the commission of driverless vehicles, Udelv and Esperanza Real Estate Investments will establish operations in Oklahoma City and create a state-of-the-art tele-operations center for the remote control and monitoring of the fleet.
Secretary of Transportation and Oklahoma Department of Transportation Executive Director Oklahoma, Mike Patterson said in a statement that a group was in place working toward integration of ADV technology.
“Oklahoma is actively developing a strategy to integrate the technology of automation through the work of the Driving Oklahoma Working Group," he said. "It is exciting to set the basis to support innovations like this and work with companies such as the Buy For Less family of brands at the forefront of its industry.”