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Oklahoma grocers set to deploy fleet of autonomous vans for final-mile deliveries

A small group of Oklahoma-based grocers will be among the first to fully deploy autonomous delivery vehicles (ADV) as a normal part of their everyday operation.

Udelv will supply Oklahoma City’s largest local chain of grocery stores –Uptown Grocery, Buy For Less, Buy For Less Super Mercado and Smart Saver – with 10 customized self-driving electric delivery vans to service online deliveries in the metro area.

The first vehicle is set for delivery early next year with the full fleet delivered by the end of June. The custom-made cargo vans, which are the world’s first ADVs for public road driving, will operate with safety drivers until both companies and regulators deem them approved for safe driverless operation.

The vehicles will eventually cover thousands of miles of residential roads in what will be one of the largest autonomous driving deployments in the world.

The companies have also secured an exclusive dealership agreement with Udelv for additional fleet vans to service other local merchants, residents, and potential pharmacies in underserved markets.

To accompany the commission of driverless vehicles, Udelv and the grocers ownership group will establish operations in Oklahoma City and create a state-of-the-art tele-operations center for the remote control and monitoring of the fleet.

Udelv CEO Daniel Laury said the deal was Udelv’s largest since launching its ADV in January and represented a technological breakthrough.

“With over 700 deliveries on public roads with a safety driver already completed in the San Francisco Bay Area on behalf of more than ten paying clients, Udelv has demonstrated its capability to safely pioneer this technology and proven the benefits to local retail and their customers in the community,” he says, “but with this new milestone, the present deal puts Oklahoma City at the forefront of technology.”

Oklahoma Department of Transportation Executive Director Mike Patterson says the state is actively developing a strategy to integrate the technology of automation through the work of the Driving Oklahoma Working Group.

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Jason Cannon is the Equipment Editor for Commercial Carrier Journal and Overdrive, and is a Class A CDL holder. Reach him at jasoncannon@randallreilly.com.