Self-driving software startup Oxbotica said on Wednesday it has teamed up with AppliedEV to develop a fully autonomous multi-purpose vehicle that could be suitable for a variety of commercial uses. The first deployments of self-driving electric vehicles (EVs) will be in industrial logistics and automated goods delivery. “We have an ambitious deployment goal over the coming years, driven by an extraordinary market appetite for a world-class product,” Oxbotica founder Paul Newman said in a statement. In April, British online grocer Ocado (OCDO.L) said it would invest 10 million pounds ($13.8 million) in Oxbotica as part of a tie-up that aims to reduce the cost of last-mile delivery and other logistics.
“We are really excited and supportive of this collaboration between Oxbotica and AppliedEV as we see it as an important step on our journey to developing advanced autonomous mobility solutions for the Ocado Smart Platform,” said Alex Harvey, head of advanced technology at Ocado Technology. AppliedEV, an autonomous EV maker founded by former Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) and General Motors Co (GM.N) executives, will provide the EV platform for the vehicle. AppliedEV Chief Executive Julian Broadbent said the partnership could bring “strong commercial outcomes” in as little as 12 months. In January, Oxbotica said it had raised $47 million in a funding round led by the venture arm of oil giant BP (BP.L) and which included health and safety device maker Halma Plc (HLMA.L) and Tencent (0700.HK).