Next year, Oklahoma City residents will be able to have their groceries delivered to them by an autonomous vehicle. Udelv announced this week that a new partnership will bring its self-driving delivery vehicles to the city's largest local chain of grocery stores, which includes supermarkets such as Uptown Grocery, Buy For Less, Buy For Less Super Mercado and Smart Saver. Ten vehicles are scheduled to be delivered to the stores by the end of June 2019.
Udelv made its first delivery with the vehicles in California this January, and since then, it has completed more than 700 deliveries in partnership with a handful of merchants in the San Francisco Bay Area. The company and its Oklahoma City parter Esperanza Real Estate Investments will work with city authorities ahead of the vehicles' deployment and Oklahoma's Secretary of Transportation, Mike Patterson, said in a statement that the state has a regulatory group in place focusing on the use of autonomous delivery vehicle technology. "Over the next several months, Udelv will work with Esperanza, local authorities, regulators and more to master miles of roads in the Oklahoma City area to ensure our vehicles can provide safe, convenient and affordable delivery services to local communities," said Udelv CEO Daniel Laury.
The first vehicle is set to be delivered to the area in the first quarter of 2019, and the fleet will have safety drivers on board until the vehicles are approved for driverless operation. Additional vans are also planned for deployment to other merchants in the region.