One of the UKs biggest retailers has trialled robot grocery deliveries to homes in central London.
Tesco announced the successful trial earlier this week. The company is now reviewing the trial before deciding what its next move will be.
This follows Amazon’s drone delivery trials where items can be delivered by air.
This is clearly another step towards automisation in the retail sector and while the range is low and the number of items which can be delivered currently small, it is reasonable to assume both of these factors will expand in time.
But, the key question for the sector is will robots completely replace delivery people?
Hard to say for sure at this point. Technology is a capital cost and if this cost and any maintenance / repair during the life of the machine are cheaper than the wages a human would receive, then the economic driver for replacing the human element is there.
But it is worth noting while Tesco has had self service checkouts in most of its stores for several years, it has not replaced all its human operated checkouts with these self service facilities.
Self service checkouts in supermarkets tend to be used for small amounts of items rather than the bigger shops.
While this development of robot delivery alone is not the start of delivery people being replaced altogether, it is another indicator of a wider trend towards automisation in the work place.