Dubai, UAE, 3 November, 2021: Majid Al Futtaim, the leading shopping mall, communities, retail, and leisure pioneer across the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia, has announced its collaboration with Yandex, one of the largest IT companies in Europe, and the co-winner of Dubai World Challenge for Self-Driving Transport, to explore autonomous technology solutions to enhance Carrefour’s last mile delivery capabilities. The partnership will enable Carrefour to be the first omnichannel retailer to use self-driving robots for orders delivery in the region.
Responding to the high demand for online orders, Carrefour customers in selected neighborhoods across the UAE could receive their online orders via Yandex autonomous delivery robots as part of the pilot program, which is set to launch in early 2022. The joint project will introduce innovative robotic delivery for Carrefour customers, while other benefits will include lower emissions.
The signing ceremony was held at the Dubai World Congress for Self-Driving Transport 2021 on 27 October, and was attended by His Excellency Mattar Al Tayer, Director General, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA); Hani Weiss, Chief Executive Officer of Majid Al Futtaim Retail; and Artem Fokin, Head of Business Development at Yandex Self-Driving Group.
The partnership reimagines the integration of robots into daily life. Powered by Yandex autonomous vehicle technology, company’s delivery robots can efficiently plan the safest route in real time, detect approaching vehicles and pedestrians, and travel at speeds of up to 8 km/h on sidewalks or other pedestrian areas. As the Yandex self-driving robots begin navigating the streets, customers will be able to track its movement in real time on the MAF Carrefour App.
Hani Weiss, Chief Executive Officer of Majid Al Futtaim Retail, said: “As a leading retailer, driving the retail industry into the future is our responsibility. Together with Yandex, and the ongoing support of the RTA, we are excited to explore this innovative new last mile solution to offer our customers greater flexibility, convenience and speed with their online orders. What was once considered science fiction, we are delighted that the wheels are in motion for Carrefour to start delivering orders via self-driving, fully automated robots.”
Dmitry Polishchuk, CEO of Yandex Self-Driving Group, said: "The demand for automated last-mile delivery continues to grow across the world. Not only businesses, but also cities and even whole states have now taken an interest in this technology. Autonomous delivery has the potential to improve the life for people in cities, while helping companies optimize their logistics and cut down the costs. Yandex robots have already delivered tens of thousands of orders in the USA and Russia. We appreciate the support from RTA and together with Majid Al Futtaim we will explore the opportunities to bring the advantages of robotic delivery to Dubai’s daily life."
This marks yet another contribution to the UAE’s fourth industrial revolution by Majid Al Futtaim as it expands its digital and data capabilities. The leading retailer has launched several technologically advanced initiatives in 2021 including opening its Carrefour Automated-Fulfilment Centre (a robotised storage picking facility that prepares orders within minutes) and introducing Carrefour City+ (the region’s first check-out-free store powered by artificial intelligence). Both exist as prime examples of how robotics and automated technology can tangibly improve efficiency and elevate the customer experience.