H-E-B, Udelv launching pilot program to test deliveries via autonomous vehicle

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In partnership with Udelv, San Antonio-based supermarket company H-E-B has announced plans to launch a pilot program later this year to test a delivery service that uses an autonomous vehicle.

H-E-B will use an autonomous van from Udelv to serve customers near its Olmos Park H-E-B, which is just north of downtown San Antonio.

“At H-E-B, we continue to evaluate and utilize innovative technologies in all parts of our business,” says Paul Tepfenhart, senior vice president of Omnichannel and Emerging Technologies at Central Market and H-E-B.

“As a leading digital-retail leader in Texas, we will continue to grow our Partner population as well as technology presence to complement our store operations, enabling customers to choose how they shop, pay for and receive products.”

Capable of traveling at city street and highway speeds, Udelv's autonomous delivery vehicle features climate-controlled compartments that can hold multiple orders of fresh, frozen and dry goods.

During the first phase of the pilot, a driver will be present in the autonomous delivery vehicle. If the initiative expands, H-E-B will implement what it calls a “multi-phased” roll out to give the technology time to learn the safest, most efficient routes, which will lead to the vehicle eventually operating without a driver.

For the pilot, select customers can sign up to receive deliveries from Udelv's 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,” says Daniel Laury, CEO of Udelv.

“As the most loved retailer in Texas, H-E-B is an amazing partner for Udelv as we scale our Autodeliv service and work to make deliveries faster and safer. We look forward to serving the people of Texas with Newton, our second-generation ADV.”