High street retailer Wilko has invested £3m in UK company StreetDrone, which is developing low-speed autonomous vehicles (AVs) for home deliveries.
StreetDrone has customers across Europe, Asia and Australasia, and has been working on its proprietary technology since 2017.
The company aims to deploy driverless delivery vehicles on the UK’s public roads by the end of 2023.
Founder and CEO Mike Potts said: “Wilko will help us realise our aim of bringing autonomous last-mile services to UK and European roads, to the benefit of both retailers and consumers."
Wilco's investment is part of a wider multi-million-pound pre-series A round, but the retailer's interest is significant.
The firm says it wants "to ultimately provide customers with access to new digitally-enabled services, including autonomous retail deliveries".
Wilko CEO Jerome Saint-Marc called AVs "the future of automated logistics" and says the technology "has the potential to reduce costs for customers when deployed in the retail sector".
Meanwhile in the US, Ford AVs powered by Argo AI will be making deliveries for Walmart in Miami, Austin and Washington DC later this year, Forbes reports.