Robomart Grocery Store on Wheels for Deployment This Fall


Long queues at a grocery store. / Photo by: stylephotographs via 123RF


Grocery shopping is a must task to supply the bathroom and the refrigerator. A startup company, Robomart, may help customers to quickly access their grocery needs with its driverless grocery store.

At the Consumer Electronics Show in January this year, Robomart introduced their concept of a store on wheels, maneuvered by remote driving. While typical autonomous vehicles require specific permits to access roads, the grocery store on wheels does not because it is teleoperated by people instead of being controlled using an autopilot system.

“The robomarts will be teleoperated for the duration of the pilots. We’ve been in discussions with the DMV and (they) don’t require a driverless permit to operate, as they will be teleoperated,” explained Ali Ahmed, CEO of the startup company.

The remote-controlled grocery store works by enabling customers to tap a single button to request for the closest unit via a dedicated app. Once the unit arrives, customers can now approach the unit and pick the products they want. After getting the products, customers simply need to close the door and send the unit on its way. The entire route system utilized by the robotic unit is based on a patent-pending “grab-and-go” check-out free technology. Customers who use robomarts will be charged accordingly with a receipt.

Here are the features of the robotic grocery store:

- Fully autonomous self-driving systems that are still currently under development.

- Powered by a fully electric motor.

- Access to wireless electric vehicle charging stations.

- Equipped with software for full autonomy.

- Hardware components include sensors for safe self-driving.

The robomart also helps retailers in their business, such as the ability to expand store footprint without opening a new branch, detailed analytics to track down sales and consumption patterns, and permission to use an autonomous fleet management system to manage routing path, restocking, and other related functions.

“We will not have a hybrid teleops/autonomous approach which leads to accidents due to disengaged drivers. Whatever testing we do of our autonomous system will be on our private facility in Alameda and not deployed to the public for these pilots,” Ahmed added.

The first prototype is located at the company’s facility in San Francisco and will soon be deployed in commercial areas.