Carrefour customers in selected neighbourhoods across the United Arab Emirates could receive their online orders via autonomous delivery robots as part of a pilot program set to launch in early 2022.
Responding to the high demand for online orders, the pilot will introduce innovative robotic delivery for Carrefour customers, with the added benefit of lower emissions.
Partnering with Yandex, one of the largest IT companies in Europe, the project will enable Carrefour to be the first omnichannel retailer to use self-driving robots for orders delivery in the region.
UAE-based Majid Al Futtaim is the exclusive franchisee to operate Carrefour in over 30 countries across the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, and fully owns the operations in the region.
Majid Al Futtaim Retail CEO Hani Weiss says: “As a leading retailer, driving the retail industry into the future is our responsibility”.
“We are excited to explore this innovative new last mile solution to offer our customers greater flexibility, convenience and speed with their online orders.
“What was once considered science fiction, we are delighted that the wheels are in motion for Carrefour to start delivering orders via self-driving, fully automated robots,” he says.
Integrating robots into daily life
The partnership is said to “reimagine the integration of robots into daily life”.
Powered by Yandex autonomous vehicle technology, company’s delivery robots can efficiently plan the safest route in real time, detect approaching vehicles and pedestrians, and travel at speeds of up to 8 km/h on sidewalks or other pedestrian areas.
As the Yandex self-driving robots begin navigating the streets, customers will be able to track its movement in real time on the MAF Carrefour App.
Yandex Self-Driving Group CEO Dmitry Polishchuk says the demand for automated last-mile delivery continues to grow across the world.
“Not only businesses, but also cities and even whole states have now taken an interest in this technology.
“Autonomous delivery has the potential to improve the life for people in cities, while helping companies optimize their logistics and cut down the costs,” he says.
Majid Al Futtaim and Industry 4.0
This marks yet another contribution to the UAE’s fourth industrial revolution by Majid Al Futtaim as it expands its digital and data capabilities.
The retailer has launched several technologically advanced initiatives in 2021 including opening its Carrefour Automated-Fulfilment Centre (a robotised storage picking facility that prepares orders within minutes) and introducing Carrefour City+ (the region’s first check-out-free store powered by artificial intelligence).
Both exist as prime examples of how robotics and automated technology can tangibly improve efficiency and elevate the customer experience.