H-E-B to Test Self-Driving Delivery Vehicles

Later this year, the retailer will run a pilot AutoDeliv program with a Udelv vehicle.

July 12, 2019

SAN ANTONIO–H-E-B will start testing self-driving delivery vehicles with its Udelv partnership, Winsight Grocery Business reports. The grocery delivery service will run out of its San Antonio locations.

H-E-B will invite select customers who live near the store to receive grocery deliveries from an autonomous delivery vehicle (ADV), which has climate-controlled sections to keep fresh, frozen and dry goods at optimal temperatures. The Udelv pilot is part of the retailer’s overall strategy to implement technology into its services. Already, H-E-B offers on-demand delivery through Favor, H-E-B Go scan-and-pay mobile solution, H-E-B Curbside pickup and H-E-B Home Delivery.

“At H-E-B, we continue to evaluate and utilize innovative technologies in all parts of our business,” Paul Tepfenhart, senior vice president of omnichannel and emerging technologies for Central Market and H-E-B.

The chain will have a driver for the ADV during the pilot’s initial phase, which has multiple steps, “to give the technology time to learn the safest, most efficient routes, which will eventually lead to the ADV becoming fully driverless.”

“Companies like H-E-B are taking the first steps to explore the benefits autonomous deliveries can bring to their customers and employees,” said Daniel Laury, CEO of Udelv.

However, recent studies have found that consumers view autonomous vehicles with mixed feelings. More and more, the emerging point of view is that it’s going to take time for autonomous vehicles to be fully integrated into society.