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Yandex launches autonomous deliveries from Moscow grocery stores – bne IntelliNews

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Russian tech giant Yandex continues to expand its Yandex Rovers robot delivery project by providing autonomous delivery services from Moscow supermarkets.
Amid consumers’ increasing appetite for on-demand food delivery, Yandex Self-Driving Group has expanded delivery by rover couriers beyond restaurants and its own Yandex.Lavka dark stores, the company said in a press release.
In late April, Yandex Rovers began deliveries from the Azbuka Vkusa and VkusVill supermarket chains in the central Moscow district of Khamovniki, while there are plans to extend rover delivery to other supermarket chains and locations around the city in the near future.
While placing an order, customers can choose the robot delivery option on either the Yandex.Eats food delivery app or Yandex Go super app. Once the order is placed, supermarket staff assemble it and load it onto the Rover, which heads to the customer’s address and makes the delivery.
Upon its arrival, the customer will receive a notification, and an ‘unlock’ button will appear on the app. Yandex Rovers can carry up to 20 kilograms of products, which is likely to be sufficient for an average grocery delivery order, Yandex says, suggesting that even after ordering a gallon of milk, a couple bottles of water and some fruit, there will still be some room left for other treats.
Data from the Yandex.Eats on-demand food delivery platform suggests that hyperlocal delivery is a key trend in today’s grocery market. More and more people are opting to have their favourite products delivered from local shops quickly, rather than go shopping themselves.  
According to Yandex, Yandex Rovers are well-equipped for hyperlocal deliveries, which make up a large percentage of express grocery orders. Given the growing demand for super-fast food delivery, autonomous rovers can provide a much-needed, cost-effective solution for additional last-mile delivery capacity.
While Yandex has its own successful rapid e-grocery service Yandex.Lavka, delivering products from some 300 local warehouses, also known as dark stores, the company is also helping more than 20 brick and mortar grocery store chains to expand their online capacity by partnering with Yandex.Eats food delivery app.  
For Azbuka Vkusa and VkusVill, the Yandex Rover grocery delivery pilot is the next chapter in this partnership and additional grocery chains may join in the future.
Overall, Yandex Rovers are becoming a common sight on Moscow streets, as they already deliver orders for Yandex.Lavka as well as food from many restaurants and cafes around the Russian capital.  
Since regular service began in late 2020, Yandex Rovers have completed over 6,000 deliveries from some 50 restaurants and dark stores in Moscow and Innopolis. Yandex Rovers are the newest example of how our autonomous mobility technology, which we began developing for our self-driving cars back in 2017, has many implementations.  
Yandex says that the company is now also leaning on the data and experience of Yandex.Lavka and Yandex.Eats to see where autonomous courier delivery is needed the most.
Meanwhile, Yandex plans to continue expanding rover operations, delivering from restaurants, grocery stores and Yandex.Lavka dark stores in other Moscow districts. Plans are also in place to pilot Yandex Rover deliveries in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the US and in Seoul, South Korea.

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