The next step in the development of the driverless car comes from an unexpected direction: Vodafone is working with Rewe to test a kiosk on wheels that also drives alone.
Vodafone and Rewe: Kiosk on wheels without a driver
A hunger in between and then the snack machine just drives by, for many of those plagued by cravings or those in urgent need of coffee, that certainly sounds like a dream. This is exactly what Vodafone and Rewe are working on. Today the Rewe Snack Mobil starts to the first test drives in Cologne. The mobile kiosk has loaded sweet and healthy snacks and drinks and drives its laps autonomously.
The Snack Mobil uses integrated sensors and cameras for navigation. It permanently reports its own location to a control unit via a cellular connection via an external antenna and SIM card. Similar to current cell phone contracts, the connection is maintained in the LTE or 5G network. This is how the mobile kiosk does its rounds on a predetermined course, the test team as well as customers can track the location at any time (source: Vodafone). The latter use the Rewe app for this.
But the Snack Mobil is not completely alone, after all, it is a test. During the test phase until September on the Carlswerk campus, an employee will permanently accompany the vehicle in order to be able to intervene in an emergency. Ideally, the systems should avoid such situations independently.
Mobile payment has become a real alternative. Which questions you should ask yourself before you use apps to pay with your smartphone can be seen in the Video:
Only with smartphone: Snack-Mobil inflexible when paying
Interested users can either use the Snack Mobil beckon with a show of hands and then order or choose your snack at one of the predefined stops. Payment should work via smartphone. Sensors prevent the vehicle from starting again in the vicinity of people. This is only possible from a certain safety distance.
Whether the Snack Mobil will actually become a product for the future is included still completely open. Based on the test results, they want to evaluate what should happen next. Nevertheless, the advance shows that autonomous driving enables more applications than private journeys, during which drivers could one day take a nap while on the move.