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This self-driving car will bring a tiny supermarket to you



We’re delivery obsessed. It’s OK, we can admit it. 

Between Amazon Prime, Postmates, Grubhub, Uber Eats, on-campus “snackbots,” and all the self-driving grocery delivery vans bringing us pizza, Walmart orders, and more, you rarely have to go to the store. But an autonomous vehicle company is taking our extreme laziness one step further: bringing the grocery store to our door. 

Instead of ordering some carrots, eggs, and almond milk from an app, the San Francisco startup Robomart is bringing Stop & Shop groceries to Boston-area customers. You summon the self-driving vehicle and a selection of grocery items are brought to you. Now you can squeeze every avocado and pick the one that’s just right.

Autonomous grocery shopping.

Autonomous grocery shopping.

The electric vehicle is essentially a roving produce section and once it arrives, you pick what you want and are charged through the app. It’s something like the cashier-less Amazon Go stores, but on wheels and mobile. It’s starting out with fruits, veggies, and some other grocery items, but it’s admittedly a limited selection. For a full shopping trip you might have to *shudder* go to the store.

Produce on the robo-store is restocked from Stop & Shop facilities throughout the day and monitored through a remote pilot who can keep tabs on the vehicle’s journey and inventory.

Forget the drive-through, this grocery store drives to you.

Forget the drive-through, this grocery store drives to you.

The partnership with Smart & Shop will kick off later this year and only serve customers in the greater Boston area. The remote-controlled autonomous vehicle with refrigerated shelves first debuted at CES last year. It’s real-world arrival comes as a plethora of on-demand grocery services pop up. 

But if it can deliver a faster, fresher, easier experience it might just win the race to keep us on the couch.

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