Self-driving grocery delivery cars are on roads in San Jose, California
If you live in certain neighborhoods in San Jose, California, you can now get some of your groceries delivered by a self-driving car. Bright green cars from the self-driving startup AutoX–with a backup driver inside–will pull up with your order in the trunk. In the backseat, the window rolls down to offer a shelf of extra food to buy. “Last mile delivery for grocery and food will be faster and cheaper enabled by self-driving cars,” says Jianxiong Xiao, CEO of AutoX. The vehicle is equipped with high-resolution cameras to spot pedestrians or pets in the road–a system that Xiao, who trained at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, says works better than Lidar laser arrays and other sensors used on other self-driving cars, but is cheaper to build. Fully outfitted, the car costs $80,000 and can operate for several years; if regulations and technology get to the point that the backup driver isn’t necessary, that will be cheaper than a regular car with a human driver.