Singapore: autonomous robots on trial to deliver groceries

Date : 12 March 2021

Soo-Eng Tan

Senior Retail Analyst

FairPrice is working with local agencies to test the use of autonomous robots in providing on-demand deliveries in Singapore.

Greater convenience and flexibility

Source: IMDA

The trial is currently limited to a neighbourhood shopping complex in Punggol and the residential area nearby. The one-year trial will assess:

  • Technologies such as AI for autonomous navigation, obstacle detection and avoidance
  • Infrastructure such as communication systems and road networks
  • Business models for commercial viability

After buying groceries, shoppers can drop off the purchases at a concierge counter and continue shopping or dining. The robot will deliver the purchases at the time that the shopper chooses. A mobile app notifies the shopper when the robot is making the delivery and a confirmation of arrival. When the shopper reaches home, she can unlock the robot with a QR code at the point of collection through the mobile app.

Retail transformation through use of technology

Source: IMDA

While the current trial is for grocery delivery purchased at a physical store, the plan is to roll out the same service for online shopping. A logistics company will deliver products ordered to dispatch hubs and schedule delivery times with shoppers. The use of robots with a mobile app to provide last mile delivery will support existing delivery infrastructure to enhance shoppers’ experience. Shoppers do not have to wait for a fixed delivery time and can expect faster deliveries to their homes.

Retail Analysis weekly newsletter

Keep up-to-date with the latest retail developments shaping the industry.

Sign up for our newsletter »