Jan 18, 2018

Here's a Futuristic Supermarket that drives to your Doorstep, Literally

If you've ever shopped online and marveled at the convenience, this new concept does one better: it brings the shop physically to you in real time.

Modern technology has changed our lives in huge ways. We can already order groceries through our smartphones, and you can even shop at online stores like Amazon just by talking to a little box sitting in your living room. Ah, the joys of making shopping easier. The latest concept, however, is going to take that convenience even further. Now, they're bringing the supermarket to your doorstep. Literally.

Santa Clara-based startup Robomart has partnered with NVIDIA to create a free-roaming shopping bodega, fully stocked with goods and produce that can autonomously visit your doorstep to get you your goods in real time. No more waiting for the delivery man to drop it off at your door, this brings the supermarket right to your doorstep.

The concept is pretty simple, yet elegant and it combines ideas from the vastly successful ride-sharing services like Uber, with automated self-driving cars and an inventory system that knows how to charge you with an invoice automatically. Basically, a delivery van is outfitted with an array of autonomous driving technologies NVIDIA has developed as part of its Deep Learning AI Inception Program, including LiDAR, radar, cameras, and a motion control system to provide Level 5 autonomy. In self-driving car parlance that means it can drive around the city without human assistance perfectly. The little vehicle has a top speed of 40 km/h and has an 128 km range with its battery. It's also equipped with a HEVO wireless charging system, which means it can just stop by the charging center to top itself back up when it's running low on juice. It has a refrigerated cargo area that that is stocked with multiple shelves of produce. Later on, this can be expanded to include all sorts of goods.

When you need to go shopping, you just request the vehicle to come to your doorstep (or wherever you are at the moment), and a little Robomart will head over in a few minutes just like you were hailing an Uber cab. The cargo compartment opens and you just pick out whatever you want. Once you're done the vehicle records what items were taken out using the innovative Grab and Go checkout system, and sends you an invoice to your account online.

Robomart is waiting for an Autonomous Vehicle Testing Permit from the California DMV, after which they will start a pilot program to test the service in the Bay Area later this summer. It's exciting news and could be the next big disruptive technology to change our lives.