Later this year, H-E-B will launch a pilot program to test delivery service from a vehicle with self-driving technology.
The retailer will use one autonomous van with driverless technology, which will provide delivery service to customers near its Olmos Park H-E-B, just north of downtown San Antonio.
To test the self-driving technology, H-E-B will source one Autonomous Delivery Vehicle (ADV) from Udelv, a California-based company that creates ADVs. The ADV has climate-controlled compartments that can hold multiple orders of fresh, frozen and dry goods, and can travel at city street and highway speeds.
For San Antonio-based H-E-B, the adoption of innovative technologies has helped increase convenience, reduce costs, streamline operational efficiencies, and create jobs. As the largest privately-held employer in Texas, people will continue to play a major role throughout the company’s business.
“Our success starts with our people, who provide exceptional hospitality and drive us to open more engaging stores that offer a world-class shopping experience,” said Craig Boyan, H-E-B President. “We’re committed to winning through people and hiring more people, and we’re adding necessary skills to become both a better tech company and even stronger brick-and-mortar retailer.”
During the first phase of the pilot, the ADV will have a driver. If the driverless delivery service initiative is expanded, the retailer will implement a multi-phased roll out to give the technology time to learn the safest, most efficient routes, which will eventually lead to the ADV becoming fully driverless.
For the pilot, which will initially involve one ADV, select customers can sign up to receive deliveries from the autonomous vehicle during the test period.
“Companies like H-E-B are taking the first steps to explore the benefits autonomous deliveries can bring to their customers and employees,” said Daniel Laury, CEO of Udelv. “We look forward to serving the people of Texas with Newton, our second-generation ADV.”
This trial is part of efforts to integrate more technology-based services into H-E-B’s digital lineup.
Along with Favor, an on-demand delivery service, H-E-B continues to expand e-commerce offerings such as H-E-B Curbside and H-E-B Home Delivery, which are expected to be at over 200 locations by year’s end and employ more than 5,500 Partners companywide, and H-E-B Go, a mobile solution that allows people to scan and pay for their items with their phones.