Asda customers can have their food shop delivered by a Wayve self-driving vehicle as the UK’s largest autonomous grocery home shopping delivery trial begins.

The supermarket has joined forces with Wayve and is launching the year-long trial which will give Asda the opportunity to autonomously deliver groceries to a catchment area of over 170,000 residents across 72,000 households in London.

Asda’s existing online delivery operation at the Park Royal superstore in West London will be joined by the Wayve self-driving vehicles which have the ability to drive themselves to the homes of customers.

Next day delivery orders can be placed online as usual by Asda Park Royal customers but they could be randomly selected to receive their order via a self-driving vehicle.

The Argus: Self-driving cars will deliver food shopping from Asda to customers' homesSelf-driving cars will deliver food shopping from Asda to customers' homes (Image: Asda/Wayve)

An Asda colleague and supervising Wayve safety driver will both be in the vehicle during the trial when making deliveries.

Asda colleagues will load and unload the groceries at the customers’ home but they will be transported from store to the door in a self-driving vehicle.

How does the Wayve self-driving vehicle work?

Wayve’s ‘AV2.0’ solution uses machine learning to train its AI software to learn from experience how to drive in any environment. 

This results in AV technology that is not geo-fenced by highly detailed maps or pre-defined routes and can autonomously drive anywhere in its urban domain even to places it’s never been to before.

The system is designed to constantly monitor the road, identifying potential hazards and making the safest decisions possible.

Asda will be able to reach its Park Royal customers from the first day of the trial as the technology will be used to drive anywhere in the area.

The Argus: The trial will last for 12 monthsThe trial will last for 12 months (Image: Asda/Wayve)

The launch follows a two-year partnership between the supermarket and autonomous vehicle technology start-up that aims to lead the way on developing a self-driving vehicle solution for the grocery market.

Simon Gregg, Vice President of eCommerce at Asda, said: “Asda has long understood the value of bringing tech innovation to the online grocery sector and we are always looking at new and innovative partnerships to improve delivery options for customers.

"We believe autonomous technology is an exciting opportunity to shape the future of delivery, not only at our Park Royal store but throughout our nationwide operation.

“Through our partnership with Wayve, we are trialling this technology to understand how it can assist our busy store operations, whilst also adding a unique, reliable and efficient option for Asda customers to have a whole range of products delivered to their doors.”

Alex Kendall, Co-founder & CEO at Wayve, said: “We’re excited to partner with Asda on the largest urban autonomous grocery delivery trial in Europe.

"The trial is a demonstration of how autonomy can meet fleet owner needs. We started developing our AV technology over five years ago: it’s incredible to see it delivering real value today as part of Asda’s daily operations.

“We value our work with Asda to build the foundations of future autonomous grocery delivery.

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"Trials like this one accelerate our road to deployment. They provide the learnings required to bring the benefits of AV technology to customers sooner while ensuring that businesses, like Asda, are prepared to deploy AVs at scale.”

The Park Royal store is the first to see the rollout of the self-driving cars but if the trial is extended to other areas, Wayve will be able to offer autonomous delivery in more Asda locations.