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LOCAL INDEPENDENT GROCERY CHAIN SIGNS DEAL TO BRING DRIVERLESS DELIVERY VEHICLES TO OKLAHOMA
OKLAHOMA CITY – Esperanza Real Estate Investments, LLC and its affiliate entity Narnia Road, LLC announced today it has signed a landmark deal with leading autonomous delivery vans (ADV) company Udelv. This new technology launch will supply Oklahoma City’s (OKC) largest local chain of independent grocery stores with self-driving delivery vans. The Buy For Less (BFL) Family of brands, and its progressive team are the first grocery chain in the world to make such a large scale investment in the autonomous delivery industry.
The agreement with Udelv will supply supermarkets Uptown Grocery Co., Buy for Less, Buy For Less Super Mercado and Smart Saver with an initial 10 customized cargo vans to service online deliveries and specialties in the OKC metro area and is the largest ADV investment to date.
“This agreement and subsequent advent of ADV technology in Oklahoma City is a technological win for Oklahoma,” explained Susan Binkowski, CEO of Esperanza and Co-owner of the BFL Grocery Company with husband and founder, Hank Binkowski. “We believe we exist to elevate communities and relationships, always striving to be innovative and forward thinking with decisions on how to serve our community. As a leading provider of grocery in Oklahoma, we are thrilled to add this new technology that enhances our ability to deliver food with excellence, service, and convenience to Oklahoma families. And, we are proud to be working with a visionary company committed to helping us pioneer the future of delivery technology.”
The first vehicle is expected to be delivered to Oklahoma City in first quarter 2019 with the full fleet operational throughout 2019. The custom-made cargo vans, the world’s first ADVs for public road driving, will operate with safety drivers until mapping data has been stored and policies and procedures have been approved by the two companies, state and local agencies and departments, and the state legislature for safe driverless operation.
ADD ONE … ADV VEHICLES
Udelv CEO, Daniel Laury said the deal is Udelv’s largest since launching its ADV in January 2018 and represents a massive technological implementation for Oklahomans. The vehicles (designated
SAE L42 ADVs) will eventually cover thousands of miles of residential roads in Oklahoma, which will be one of the largest autonomous driving deployments in the world.
Over the next several months, Udelv will work through Esperanza, Buy for Less, Oklahoma municipal and state authorities, regulators and others to ensure the transition to ADVs is held to the highest standards. “Teamwork will assist in mastering the miles of roads in the Oklahoma City metro area to ensure our vehicles can provide safe, convenient and affordable delivery services to local communities,” stated Laury. “With a vast amount of deliveries on public roads with a safety driver already completed in the San Francisco Bay Area on behalf of other clients, Udelv has demonstrated its capability to safely pioneer this technology and proven the benefits to local retail companies and their customers. But this new milestone partnership puts Oklahoma City at the forefront of technology and partnership to move further faster.”
According to Mike Patterson, Secretary of Transportation and Oklahoma Department of Transportation Executive Director Oklahoma already has a group in place that has been working toward integration of ADV technology.
“Oklahoma is actively developing a strategy to integrate the technology of automation through the work of the Driving Oklahoma Working Group. It is exciting to set the basis to support innovations like this and work with companies such as the Buy For Less family of brands at the forefront of its industry,” explained Patterson.
In addition to the fleet of vehicles for grocery delivery, Esperanza and Narnia Road also acquired an exclusive Udelv dealership agreement for the State of Oklahoma to supply additional fleet vans to service other local merchants and residents in underserved markets.
To accompany the commission of driverless vehicles, Udelv and Esperanza Real Estate Investments will establish operations in Oklahoma City and create a state-of-the-art tele-operations center for the remote control and visibility for monitoring of the fleet.
The Binkowski family believes investing in ADVs is part of the company’s growth strategy for their home, business and individual delivery channel.
Our investment marks the beginning of work to develop new avenues of our business for our chain of supermarkets, made possible by the advent of this technology. We are constantly striving to serve our guests as their desires constantly change and evolve. In four of our stores across two banners we have successfully rolled out our own online platform developed within our company. We have additionally launched a relationship that has allowed us to deliver groceries through the same four stores. This will be expanded to all of our stores across all four banners in November of this year. With Udelv, we will now be able to add driverless deliveries to our other options of the in-store experience, free curbside pick-up and driver deliveries, stated Hank Binkowski, Founder and CEO of the Buy For Less Grocery Company.
ADD TWO … ADV VEHICLES
The Binkowski’s are equally as passionate about the ministry of changing the lives of families in need through this innovative delivery method. “As unabashed Christ–followers, bringing this technology to our state aligns with the mission and vision of our companies to use the opportunities God has provided to minister to those who may have need. This decision will have a far-reaching impact on families that goes beyond grocery delivery. That makes this endeavor a very worthy investment,” stated Susan Binkowski.
2The vehicle shall be capable of performing all driving functions under certain conditions and within a defined Operational Design Domain (ODD). The driver has the option to take control of the vehicle.
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