Supermarket giant Asda is to trial self-driving delivery vans for customer home deliveries in London, provided by autonomous mobility technology company Wayve.

The vehicles will be used to transport groceries to up to 72,000 households in London, making it the largest trial in the UK, according to Asda. The supermarket chain's Park Royal Store in Northwest London will be the first to test the technology.

An Asda employee and a Wayve safety driver will be in the vehicles for every delivery during the 12-month trial. Neither will be driving as the vehicles are fully autonomous, with the Wayve safety driver there as a precaution and the Asda employee there load the groceries and deliver them to customers' doorsteps.

Asda said the addition of these autonomous vehicles (AVs) to Asda’s fleet will support Asda’s existing home delivery operation at the Park Royal store, with the self-driving vehicles deployed randomly to customers. Asda insisted that the trial will not affect current delivery services at the store.

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Simon Gregg, Asda senior vice president of e-commerce, said: “We believe autonomous technology is an exciting opportunity to shape the future of delivery, not only at our Park Royal store but throughout our nationwide operation.

“Through our partnership with Wayve, we are trialling this technology to understand how it can assist our busy store operations, whilst also adding a unique, reliable, and efficient option for Asda customers to have a whole range of products delivered to their doors.”

Wayve and Asda have been working together since 2021, with plans to integrate autonomy into the online grocery space and learn how the technology can shape the future of last mile delivery.

Wayve’s AI-centric solution, AV2.0, uses deep learning to train its software to predict movement and react accordingly. It converts data inputs from radar and cameras into outputs in the form of driving actions like braking, accelerating, or turning the steering wheel.

Alex Kendall, Wayve co-founder and chief executive, added: "We’re excited to partner with Asda on the largest urban autonomous grocery delivery trial in Europe. The trial is a demonstration of how autonomy can meet fleet owner needs.

“We started developing our AV technology over five years ago: it’s incredible to see it delivering real value today as part of Asda’s daily operations.

“We value our work with Asda to build the foundations of future autonomous grocery delivery. Trials like this one accelerate our road to deployment.

"They provide the learnings required to bring the benefits of AV technology to customers sooner while ensuring that businesses, like Asda, are prepared to deploy AVs at scale.”