Belgian retailer puts unmanned vehicle to the test in country’s longest-ever road test

Collect&Go, the digital shopping service of Belgian retailer Colruyt Group, has announced that it has tested an autonomous vehicle from Estonian technology company Clevon to see if it can support sales applications.

The company said the bot uses remote teleoperation with enhanced autopilot functionality and that the unmanned vehicle traveled a four-kilometer route along public roads during the trial.

According to the group, this is the longest distance ever traveled by an unmanned vehicle on a public road in Belgium.

The bot traveled between Collect&Go’s distribution center and a company pickup point in Londerzeel.

Kim Vancauwenberghe, Managing Director of Colruyt Group Smart Technics, said: “In this first phase, we mainly want to test the technology, explore what the vehicle is already capable of and see how we can deliver together with local and federal government not only safer, but also ecological transport on public roads in an urban environment.

“The tests not only provide useful insights for the online shopping service Collect&Go.

“Other formulas in our group are also following the study with great interest.”

Additionally, the digital retailer has announced that Collect&Go will be the first service in Belgium to test unmanned electric vehicles on public roads, and that this is the first time a car will hit the road without a physical driver on board.

Sander Sebastian Agur, Chief Executive of Clevon, said: “Our third generation Clevon 1 autonomous vehicle has the necessary permits to drive on public roads in Estonia and Lithuania.

“License applications are pending in the United States and many other European countries.

“Our driverless, all-electric vehicles have been cruising around town for 2.5 years and have an impeccable safety record proving the technology is workable and safe for everyone.”​ ​ ​ ​ ​

To support the trial run, a permit from the Federal Ministry of Mobility was required to operate a remote-controlled car on public roads. Further preparations for the trial included mapping potential risks by VIAS, a Belgian road safety institute.

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