Moby Mart, “the supermarket that comes to you”, is roaming the streets of Shanghai.
Created by Wheelys Cafe, Hefei University of Technology and tech firm Himalafy, the Wheelys Moby Mart is an autonomous, staffless shop on wheels that travels to customers.
“The Moby Mart offers products for immediate consumption, such as milk, lunch, or medicine over the counter, around the clock,” its creators say.
“Just enter the store, take what you need, and leave. Computers, light bulbs and other stuff can be ordered in advance and picked up at your nearest Moby Mart.”
After using an app to summon the roving store, customers will step inside, choose their items, and scan them with a phone, as seen above in the rather dystopian promotional video for the Moby Mart. A bank account connected to the phone will then be charged for the items.
“Running on electricity and equipped with solar panels, the Moby is also the most environmentally friendly store on the market,” the creators say.
“With an Integrated Air purifier, the W247 Mobile does not only not pollute; it cleans up.”
Alas, the Moby Mart won’t be winging its way by your suburb anytime soon. While a prototype is in beta testing on the streets of Shanghai at the moment, it doesn’t quite run as advertised — it’s being operated by humans. Eventually, however, the creators say it will use autonomous computer vision to find its way around.
Looks like we’ll have to stick with the humble brick-and-mortar supermarket for now.