Carrefour is testing a robot that delivers groceries independently to customers' homes - a “first in Europe,” the supermarket chain said in a press release.
It will be trying out the robot from the Turkish company Delivers.ai until the end of Spring at the Corporate Village in Zaventem, a 60,000 m2 complex that houses a total of 9,000 employees from a dozen companies.
The trials will initially be limited to about 20 test subjects, but from next week anyone in the complex may place an order via the Carrefour home delivery app. The goods will then arrive within 15 minutes.
According to Carrefour spokesperson Aurélie Gerth, the project is still in its infancy. “This is really the starting shot of the test,” she said.
Eventually, the chain hopes to deploy the robots in city centres. They will “revolutionise small and medium-sized towns that are currently not served by home delivery,” according to the press release.
The self-driving shopping carts are equipped with artificial intelligence, sensors and eight cameras, allowing them to move safely, including on public roads, according to Carrefour. Moreover, there would be no CO2 emissions.
The supermarket chain preferred not to say anything about the price tag but sees the fact that the cart is unmanned as a saving. “If you need to have one person driving around, that also costs money, especially with the high wage cost in Belgium,” Gerth said.