August 9, 2021
Vroom Delivery has announced partnering with last-mile delivery robot operator Tortoise to bring on-demand delivery of thousands of products to customers’ doors in coming months. Products include grocery staples such as milk and eggs, beverages, ice cream, snacks and more, with a promised delivery time of under one hour. Alcohol and tobacco items will be delivered via human drivers, the companies said.
The delivery robot is about the size of a large cooler, and is remotely piloted, ensuring a human is always at the wheel. Robots operate on the sidewalks, and drive at an average speed of about 3 mph, allowing them to safely navigate around people, cars, pets, and other obstacles. The cart can carry more than 100 pounds of goods in sealed containers, which are remotely opened by the cart operator when it arrives at its destination.
The companies said the partnership will allow for a contactless, zero-emission, and affordable home delivery option that mitigates congestion and sustainability challenges. The Tortoise Cart is 100% electric, removing the need for gasoline-powered delivery vehicles and minimizing the traffic impact of e-commerce. “We are thrilled to be working with Urban Value, a leading convenience store chain in downtown Dallas, on a pilot deployment in the coming months,” said Dmitry Shevelenko, co-founder of Tortoise.
Urban Value, which operates stores in and around the Dallas area, will initially be piloting the program from its downtown location. Upon success of the initial pilot, the companies intend to continue to roll the program out across the Dallas area. “We are very excited to pilot this first-in-market contactless shopping opportunity,” said Steve McKinley, CEO of Urban Value. “I expect that this technology combined with our diverse product offering will provide downtown Dallas residents and office staff a much more convenient shopping experience.”
Customers can already order delivery from Urban Value for home delivery through the Vroom platform, and robots will take up the last-mile responsibilities within the coming months. Vroom and Tortoise said they are making this offering available to other convenience store chains across the country.
“In addition to the obvious contactless and environmental benefits, what we like about this concept is that this is also a very affordable solution for both the store and the consumer, significantly lowering the average cost of delivery,” said John Nelson, CEO of Vroom Delivery.