Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP), the world’s largest Coca-Cola bottler, is piloting robotic technology to deliver beverages to consumers at UK theme park Alton Towers.
As part of its Ventures innovation investment fund, CCEP is working with autonomous driving experts TeleRetail to test the technology in a high-traffic location.
During the trial, the robot will collect products from the Alton Towers distribution centre and deliver them to drinks outlets across the park, using artificial intelligence to manoeuvre around the thousands of visitors during the peak summer season.
The robot travels at 3mph and distances of up to 50km. It is equipped with GPS technology, as well as sight, sound and motion sensors to safely navigate around people and objects. It uses laser sensors to judge the distance to potential obstacles, enabling it to stop safely and avoid collisions.
CCEP said that in the future, the software could be used on different sized vehicles to solve a range of delivery problems.
“We are seeking out leading-edge technology start-ups and helping them to grow through access to expertise and the opportunity to test and refine their innovative solutions,” said Leendert Den Hollander, vice president and general manager at CCEP.
“The TeleRetail robots are a perfect example of how we are trialling technology that could enable 24/7 on-demand logistic services and eventually be something that can be scaled up to larger vehicles.
“By developing technology, solutions and processes, we can improve the way we operate, to better serve our customers and consumers – now and in the future.”
Xenia Scholl, co-founder of TeleRetail, said: “This is a fantastic location to test our robot and showcase how it can make safe decisions when delivering in a very busy place. The robot is set to drive at pedestrian walking speed in the park during the pilot project. It’s exciting to see how park visitors positively react to the robot and interact with it.
“Our self-driving technology inside the robot is called ‘Aito’. It drives the robot autonomously and is constantly being advanced for use at higher speed in vehicles of different sizes. It uses satellite images for navigation and is developed with the support of the European Space Agency.
“Seeing our robot at work in this magical setting full of innovative machines and experiences is really exciting and certainly sparks the imagination for future uses of the technology.”
In February, CCEP said it would invest more than €500 million in 2019, as part of an ongoing multi-year €1.5 billion investment programme. The expenditure is centred around three areas: next-generation digital solutions, supply chain capabilities and product availability.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2020