Shanghai can boast the world’s first fully autonomous, self-driving, solar-powered and drone-wielding drive-to-you — the Moby Mart.
If you think self-checkout machines are the height of supermarket tech, you must be living anywhere that’s not Shanghai. This city can now boast the world’s first fully mobile supermarket with the advent of Wheelys‘ Moby Mart. While fully capable of driving itself, the Moby will operate as a (remotely) human-driven vehicle until autonomous vehicles are legalized.
Driverless or not, the store remains a remarkable bit of engineering. Developed in cooperation with Himalayafy and Hefei University of Technology, the store is cleanly powered by solar panels and carries air filters to help reduce smog as it drives around town serving customers. An app will let you know if one of the stores is driving past nearby and all you have to do is step in, take what you need, and go out, as the onboard AI will automatically tally what you purchase and charge them to your phone.
Or if you’re feeling especially lazy, you can have one of the shop’s 4 drones deliver your stuff.
When stocks of any item are running low, the Moby will drive itself to a warehouse to be restocked or tap into cloud technology to locate a close-by peer and exchange their surplus products with something they need. In a pinch, the drones may also be delegated to restocking duty.
Moby can operate as a miniature version of a pharmacy or coffee shop, for example, and carries an ATM and first aid devices like defibrillators for emergency situations.
Enjoyed this article? Join 40,000+ subscribers to the ZME Science newsletter. Subscribe now!