The Ocado Group, a leading UK-based online grocery platform and solution provider, has announced the partnership with Oxford start-up Oxbotica to develop a range of self-driving vehicles. The company has invested $ 13.8million (almost £ 10million) and bought a stake in the startup which develops autonomous driving systems.
Part of a Series B investment
This Ocado investment is part of Oxbotica’s latest round of Series B equity financing. The round was led by bp ventures and included other strategic and financial investors in the US, UK, China and Australia including Tencent, Halma, BGF, HostPlus, IP Group, Venture Science, and advised funds. by Doxa Partners. As a result, Ocado will also hold a seat on the Oxbotica board of directors.
As part of the collaboration, Ocado will equip a subset of its delivery vans and warehouse vehicles with data capture capabilities, which may include video cameras, LiDAR, RADAR and other sensing devices. Ocado will make this data available to Oxbotica for training and testing of its technologies, which will then inform Ocado of the opportunities that exist and where it could make the most of these exciting new partnerships.
Reduce the cost of last mile delivery
This partnership aims to collaborate on hardware and software interfaces for autonomous vehicles powered by AI, thus integrating and improving Oxbotica’s autonomy software platform in a multitude of vehicles. Use cases range from vehicles in and around its packaging warehouses to last mile vehicles delivering grocery orders to people’s homes. Through this multi-year collaboration, Oxbotica can use the Ocado Smart platform to reduce the cost of last mile delivery and other logistics operations.
The relationship between Ocado and Oxbotica is not new as it debuted in 2017 when the latter conducted a two-week trial using a first prototype delivery vehicle making autonomous deliveries in Greenwich, London. Since the initial trial, Oxbotica has made significant progress in the development of its platform. Now there is a larger partnership that includes both Ocado’s financial investment and a business collaboration agreement.
Alex Harvey, Chief of Advanced Technology at Ocado, commented, “We are excited about the opportunity to work with Oxbotica to develop a broad range of stand-alone solutions that truly have the potential to transform our CFC and service delivery operations, as well as those of our partners, while offering all end customers the widest range of options and flexibility. “
Paul Newman, Co-Founder and CTO of Oxbotica, said: “This is a great opportunity for Oxbotica and Ocado to strengthen our partnership, sharing our vision for the future of self-reliance. By combining the cutting-edge knowledge and resources of both companies, we hope to bring our vision of universal self-reliance to life and continue to solve some of the world’s most complex self-reliance challenges.