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Stop & Shop brings on-demand, self-driving grocery stores

Driverless vehicles set to launch in Greater Boston in 2019.

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Autonomous vehicles and artificial intelligence are bringing new was to connect a retailer with a customer. On-demand, self-driving convenience stores are one of the new retailing channels being tested around the world.

Stop & Shop announced that it will launch driverless grocery vehicles in the Greater Boston area beginning in Spring 2019. The vehicles will bring a selection of Stop & Shop produce as well as meal kits and convenience items directly to consumers, so they can shop right at their doorsteps.

Part of an engagement with San Francisco-based startup Robomart, the vehicles will address consumers’ desires to select their own fresh produce when shopping via online or mobile.

“This is one way in which we’re leveraging new technology to make shopping easier for our customers - by essentially bringing the store to them,” said Mark McGowan, Stop & Shop President.

Stop & Shop customers in the Boston area can summon a Robomart vehicle with a smartphone app. Upon the Robomart vehicle’s arrival, customers head outside, unlock the vehicle’s doors, then personally select the fruits, vegetables, and other products they would like to purchase. When finished shopping, they just close the doors and send the vehicle on its way.

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