Ocado Invests in Oxbotica-Tech Round

Ocado Group plc (“Ocado”), a leading online grocery platform and solution provider, is today Oxford-based Oxforda Ltd. Announced a commercial alliance with (“Oxbotica”).

The purpose of this partnership is to work together on the hardware and software interfaces of self-driving cars to enhance Oxbotica’s autonomous software platform and integrate it into a variety of vehicles. Use cases range from vehicles operating in and around the Ocado Customer Fulfillment Center (“CFC”) building to the last mile delivery and curb-to-kitchen robots.This is a multi-year collaboration and the ultimate goal is Ocado Partner Use the Ocado Smart Platform (“OSP”) to reduce the cost of last mile delivery and other logistics operations.

The Ocado / Oxbotica relationship began in 2017 with a two-week trial using an early prototype delivery vehicle for autonomous delivery in Greenwich, London. Since its first trial, Oxbotica has made great strides in developing the platform, leading to today’s announcement of a broader relationship, including both Ocado’s financial investments and commercial collaboration agreements.

Oxbotica’s two core products are selenium and cesium. Selenium is an in-vehicle software suite that brings complete autonomy to the vehicle in a way that is both hardware and environment independent. Cesium is a cloud-based autonomous management system that provides fine-grained control, auditing, data management, and monitoring for autonomous fleets. Oxbotica’s products use a set of advanced AI, machine learning and optimization technologies to provide a modular, fully flexible “universal autonomy” platform that is low power, safe, explainable and quick to deploy. I will.

Ocado builds a team of engineers within the existing Advanced Technology A department that works with Oxbotica in these diverse use cases. The Advanced Technology division is independent of the engineering team that develops core OSP software and automation. Initial development work will focus on operations in the United Kingdom and then extend to the international market where Ocado’s partners operate.

Over the past five years, Ocado has created more than 8,000 new jobs in the UK and abroad, and currently employs nearly 19,000 people. Like the robotics business, this vehicle autonomy program is not expected to affect Ocado’s current employment or employment levels within its logistics or operations group.

Logistics costs make up the single largest item in the operating cost structure of online groceries. Moving completed orders from CFCs to “spokes” (where they are cross-docked into delivery vans) represents approximately 1.5% of UK sales. The cost of shipping the last mile is about 10% of sales. The workforce accounts for about 50% of these costs.

Beyond potential cost savings within core operations1, Ocado sees significant opportunities to improve partner customer proposals by improving response to peak delivery demand, reducing immediate proposal service costs, and accelerating the transition to electric vehicles. (This reduces vehicle sustainability and environmental impact).

For both regulatory and complexity reasons, Ocado is able to develop vehicles that operate in low-speed urban areas and restricted-access areas, such as in CFC buildings and CFC yards, faster than fully autonomous delivery. I expect that there is a possibility. In the consumer’s home. However, all aspects of self-driving car development are within the scope of this collaboration. Ocado expects to see the first prototype of an early use case for self-driving cars within two years.

In addition to this collaboration with Oxbotica, Ocado continues to seek further investment and partnerships as it grows and develops self-driving car capabilities.

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Ocado will invest £ 10m in Oxbotica as part of Oxbotica’s latest Series B equity funding round. The round is led by a bp venture and is attended by other strategic and financial investors from the US, UK, China and Australia, including funds advised by Tencent, Halma, BGF, HostPlus, IP Group, Venture Science and Doxa Partners. Did. Ocado sits on the Oxbotica board.

As part of this collaboration, Ocado will be equipped with a subset of delivery vans and warehousing vehicles with data capture capabilities such as camcorders, LiDAR, RADAR and other sensing devices. Ocado will make this data available to Oxbotica for technology training and testing. This tells Ocado what opportunities exist and how they can take full advantage of these exciting new partnerships.

Alex Harvey, Chief Technology Officer of Ocado, commented: “We are excited to work with Oxbotica to develop a wide range of autonomous solutions that have the potential to transform both our and our partners’ CFC and service delivery operations, with a wide range of options for all end users. Provides flexibility. “

Paul Newman, co-founder and CTO of Oxbotica, commented: “This is a great opportunity for Oxbotica and Ocado to strengthen their partnership and share their vision for the future of autonomy. Combining their cutting-edge knowledge and resources to realize the vision of universal autonomy, the most in the world. We hope to continue to solve some of the complex autonomy challenges. “

Ocado Invests in Oxbotica-Tech Round

Source link Ocado Invests in Oxbotica-Tech Round

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