General merchandise retailer Wilko and StreetDrone – an autonomous technology company – have teamed up to showcase a driverless electric delivery vehicle that could soon be on the UK’s roads.
A range of images have been circulated to highlight the technology in action, and paint a picture of how online delivery may change – potentially as early as 2023.
Wilko and StreetDrone are working closely together, with the retailer having invested £3 million into the tech company in September 2021. The driverless Pix-E model has been developed following that investment and is being positioned as a way for independent retailers to add affordable home delivery options to their list of customer propositions.
Pix-E has been designed amid the rising demand from consumers for quick home deliveries, but also as a “sustainable, clean, light footprint approach to scaling operations in residential areas which could become overwhelmed with the growth in deliveries”.
Wilko CEO, Jerome Saint-Marc, is a keen advocate of the machines.
“This form of technology will allow small independents to compete on a level playing field with large online retailers by reducing the cost of home delivery and giving communities more ways to access their neighbourhood shops,” he explained.
“But critically as the volume of doorstep deliveries increases, it is incumbent on everyone to design solutions that enhance, not detract from our neighbourhoods. That’s why we invested in StreetDrone to explore and test the exciting possibilities Pix-E presents.”
Wilko and StreetDrone are positioning the Pix-E as a packaging-free delivery option, and one that could replace many annual trips to the shops – therefore cutting down the number of car journeys required and improving local traffic and pollution levels.
Commenting at the time of Wilko’s initial investment – which was conducted through WilkinsonFuture, the venture capital arm of the retailer’s parent company – StreetDrone founder & CEO Mike Potts said: “Wilko will help us realise our aim of bringing autonomous last-mile services to UK and European roads, to the benefit of both retailers and consumers.
“Our technology, aligned with Wilko’s determined strategy to enrich the lives of its customers, is the perfect fusion of our capability and their requirement.”
[Image credit: Wilko/StreetDrone]