Striving to bring autonomous deliveries to the high street, homeware chain Wilko will invest £3m (US$4.15m) in StreetDrone.
Wilko’s sizeable investment – part of a wider multi-million-pound pre-Series A funding round to accelerate StreetDrone’s autonomous vehicle development – will give the retailer a significant stake in the autonomous vehicles company.
Oxford-based StreetDrone develops autonomous technologies that tackle the autonomous last-mile challenge. The company is aiming to deploy driverless delivery vehicles on the UK’s roads by the end of 2023 and is working with UK and European vehicle safety agencies on defining the standards by which these technologies will be allowed to operate on public roads.
The investment forms a key element of Wilko’s aim to strengthen its omnichannel model and respond to ever-changing customer behaviors.
Jerome Saint-Marc, CEO of Wilko, said, “One of the key reasons why we’re backing the team at StreetDrone is that this sort of transformative technology can have the potential to reduce costs for customers when deployed in the retail sector.
“Autonomous vehicles are the future of automated logistics, and StreetDrone is undoubtedly one of the key players that will lead the way in making this technology viable.”
Mike Potts, StreetDrone founder and CEO, said, “We are delighted to have the support of a major UK retailer. Wilko will help us realize our aim of bringing autonomous last-mile services to UK and European roads, to the benefit of both retailers and consumers.”