Robomart unveils its 'self-driving bodega on wheels'



In an effort to bring online produce shopping to people’s front door, a Santa Clara, California-based startup company called Robomart has developed a “self-driving bodega on wheels,” according to Engadget. The vehicle made its debut this week during CES 2018 in Las Vegas.

As part of NVIDIA's deep learning/AI “Inception Program,” Robomart developed this concept, which relies on a Sprinter Van-sized delivery vehicle equipped with a variety of technologies, including a CAN motion control system, and enough route planning and obstacle avoidance software—including LiDAR, radar, and cameras—for it to reach the highest level of autonomy, Level 5.

The vehicle also uses a fully electric drivetrain with an estimated 80-mile range, it has a top speed of 25 miles per hour, and it is equipped with the HEVO wireless charging system.

To keep the produce at an appropriate temperature, the cargo area of the vehicle will be refrigerated. For the initial pilot program, the cargo area will offer several shelves of various types of produce.

In order to use this service, shoppers will order the vehicle—in a similar fashion to how a ride sharing service is ordered—and once the vehicle arrives, they will unlock and open the door so that they can make their selection.

Products removed from the vehicle will be tracked using a proprietary "grab and go" checkout system, and that system will automatically bill the shopper and generate an online receipt.

Robomart is currently awaiting its Autonomous Vehicle Testing Permit from the California DMV. It expects to obtain that permit soon, and plans to launch a pilot program in the Bay Area this summer.