Ocado invests £10m in autonomous vehicles
Ocado Group plc, the online grocery platform and solutions provider, today announces that it has commercially partnered with Oxford-based software firm Oxbotica Ltd.
The purpose of this partnership is to collaborate on hardware and software interfaces for autonomous vehicles, enhancing and integrating Oxbotica’s autonomy software platform into a variety of vehicles.
The use cases range from vehicles that operate inside of Ocado’s Customer Fulfilment Centre (“CFC”) buildings and the yard areas that surround them, all the way to last-mile deliveries and kerb-to-kitchen robots. This will be a multi-year collaboration, and the ultimate ambition is to enable Ocado’s partners that use the Ocado Smart Platform (“OSP”) to reduce the costs of last-mile delivery and other logistics operations.
Ocado will invest £10m in Oxbotica as part of Oxbotica’s latest Series B equity funding round. The round was led by bp ventures, and included other strategic and financial investors in the US, the UK, China and Australia, such as Tencent, Halma, BGF, HostPlus, IP Group, Venture Science, and funds advised by Doxa Partners. Ocado will take a seat on Oxbotica’s board.
As part of this collaboration, Ocado will outfit 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 to train and test its technologies, which will then inform Ocado as to what opportunities exist and where best it might take advantage of these exciting new partnerships.
Alex Harvey, Chief of Advanced Technology at Ocado, commented: “We are excited about the opportunity to work with Oxbotica to develop a wide range of autonomous solutions that truly have the potential to transform both our and our partners’ CFC and service delivery operations, while also giving all end customers the widest range of options and flexibility.”
Paul Newman, Co-Founder & CTO of Oxbotica, commented: “This is an excellent opportunity for Oxbotica and Ocado to strengthen our partnership, sharing our vision for the future of autonomy. By combining both companies’ cutting-edge knowledge and resources, we hope to bring our Universal Autonomy vision to life and continue to solve some of the world’s most complex autonomy challenges.”