Photo: Carrefour press materials

Carrefour trials “autonomous shuttle” with onboard parcel locker

Carrefour and Goggo Network have announced they are trialling a ‘Mobile Drive' service that uses a completely autonomous delivery vehicle carrying a small parcel locker.

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In its press release, French retail giant Carrefour said that in a France first, an autonomous vehicle will operate on public roads, both in heavy traffic and in normal conditions (covering 15 km at up to 70 km/h).

The trial, conducted under the framework of the 5G Open Road project, involves autonomous delivery in Plateau de Saclay – the largest autonomous driving test area in France. Among those who will be able to make orders using the service are students at the Paris Institut Polytechnique.

The trial is being run in partnership with autonomous logistics operator Goggo Network.

Carrefour added that trial shall make it possible to extend current delivery rounds: the remaining final miles will be brought within easier reach, and the times and costs of transport rounds will be optimised.

How does it work? The French supermarket retailer boasts the concept is straightforward. Customers make their orders online and then choose an available delivery slot – either on the day in question or the day after.

They then have their shopping delivered to them by autonomous shuttle. The orders are processed at the automated Plessis-Pâté warehouse before being dispatched to Carrefour Massy Drive, and then loaded onto the shuttle.

Once loaded, the shuttle travels autonomously to the Plateau de Saclay. Then, when the vehicle arrives at its destination, customers unlock their locker using a code that they will have received by SMS, and retrieve their shopping. As soon as all the orders have been distributed, the shuttle returns to its starting point in Massy ready for its next load.

According to Carrefour, the autonomous shuttle is configured to make a 15 km rotation – a return trip from Carrefour (Massy) to the Paris IP campus (in Palaiseau). During the course of the trial, changes may be made to the autonomous shuttle’s itinerary based on customer feedback.

“As a digital retail company, we want to leverage digital technologies and innovation to design and test new services for our customers – services which increasingly meet their expectations, such as this one for students and employees on the plateau de Saclay. By joining forces with an innovative start-up company (Goggo Network), we are showing just how dynamic the Carrefour Group is when it comes to developing the logistics and retail services of the futures,” said Elodie Perthuisot, the Carrefour Group’s Executive Director of E-Commerce, Data and Digital Transformation.

Yasmine Fage, Co-founder of Goggo Network, added:

“We are honoured by the trust that the Carrefour Group has placed in us to co-develop the automated last-mile delivery services of the future. We will do everything possible so that this initial test on the 5G Open Road results in our collectively deploying these types of services nationally, or even internationally. This strategic partnership with a leading mass merchandising player is completely in line with Goggo Network’s desire to design the automated logistics solutions for future.”