Sometimes people just need to get in and out of a store pretty quickly. Either they’re after running out of toilet paper, or they just don’t want to spend too much time shopping; whatever the reason, over the past couple of years, companies have tried to make browsing and purchasing in their stores as efficient as possible, from layouts to self-service check-out. Now, however, it seems like we may have strayed too far down the path; Wheelys, a start-up Swedish tech firm have unveiled their plans to release the Moby Mart, a self driving store that perpetually wanders the streets, featuring fully automated check outs and next to no need for human employees.
Currently, the idea is to use artificial intelligence and computer vision to navigate city streets, and the self driving store carries a number of basic products, such as resh food, as well as things like sneakers and magazines. With almost no need for human employees, as well as being fully autonomous, there are no lines, no cashiers and no actual cash exchanged. You just scan the items you’re taking, and the Moby Mart app automatically handles the transaction for you. You can check out the video showcasing the self driving store below, although it does seem to highlight how awkward it might be.
Now, this is where things get tricky with Moby Mart. Wheelys (which has partnered with a Chinese university to bring the tech to life) says that the store will be able to drive to warehouses to restock itself, and hints that customers could be able to summon the stores, too. There’s also a drone delivery component. But right now, there’s no detail on how Wheelys plans to build out or support any of these ambitious ideas.
Wheelys has said that should the prototype prove successful, then they plan to produce more starting in 2018.