H-E-B Testing Driverless Grocery Delivery Service
San Antonio-based H-E-B has revealed a pilot program later this year that will use one vehicle with self-driving technology for deliveries from its Olmos Park location, north of downtown San Antonio.
The grocer is initially sourcing one autonomous delivery vehicle (ADV) from Burlingame, Calif.-based Udelv with climate-controlled compartments for delivery of fresh, frozen and dry goods. The ADV can travel on city streets and at highway speeds, but it will have a driver during the first phase of the pilot as a test period.
“At H-E-B, we continue to evaluate and utilize innovative technologies in all parts of our business,” said Paul Tepfenhart, SVP of omnichannel and emerging technologies at Central Market and H-E-B. “As a leading digital retail leader in Texas, we will continue to grow our partner population as well as technology presence to complement our store operations, enabling customers to choose how they shop, pay for and receive products.”
Last month, H-E-B opened a new tech hub in Austin, Texas, further advancing its position as a major tech player in the industry. According to the grocer, it's constantly adopting new technologies to "increase convenience, reduce costs, streamline operational efficiencies and create jobs."
“Our success starts with our people, who provide exceptional hospitality and drive us to open more engaging stores that offer a world-class shopping experience,” said Craig Boyan, H-E-B president. “We’re committed to winning through people and hiring more people, and we’re adding necessary skills to become both a better tech company and [an] even stronger brick-and-mortar retailer.”
With 400 stores in Texas and Mexico, H-E-B is No. 6 on Progressive Grocer’s 2019 Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States.