Exciting news! Ahold Delhaize announced today that it is partnering with the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), RoboValley and YES!Delft for the first expansion of its AI for Retail (AIR)Lab. This industry-academic collaboration set up to conduct research into artificial intelligence and algorithms and developing state-of-the-art innovations for the retail industry.
Utilizing our 13 years of expertise and experience as a technology incubator, YES!Delft will scout the best and brightest students, startups and partners to take on the Ahold Delhaize’s business challenges. Through the unique YES!Delft Validation Lab program, cutting-edge ideas and innovations will be put to the test for full commercial validation and made market ready. Practical testing of the prototypes and robotic solutions will take place at the brand new test site constructed by Ahold Delhaize and the TU Delft, which will start operations in early 2019. The partnership helps pave the way for new corporate venture opportunities for YES!Delft startups with Ahold Delhaize and brands in the Netherlands and the rest of the world.
Evert Jaap Lugt, managing director at YES!Delft, stated: “We aim to create the best possible conditions for success, and this partnership will be an exciting and extraordinary opportunity and challenge for startups. The potential impact is enormous.”
AIRLab is part of the Innovation Center for Artificial Intelligence, an open research platform that unites universities and businesses and serves as an engine for AI talent in the Netherlands. In AIRLab’s research center in Amsterdam, scientists conduct research into responsible algorithms that can be used to make recommendations to consumers, and into transparent AI technology for managing goods flows, for example by improving availability by taking into account local weather conditions. The research is taking place at Albert Heijn and bol.com, brands of Ahold Delhaize and can be applied in other brands in the U.S. and Europe.
Frans Muller, President & CEO of Ahold Delhaize, said: “The rapid advancements in AI and robotics provide us with significant opportunities to make everyday shopping an even easier experience for our customers – not only in our stores and warehouses but also in domains like last-mile delivery and in our interactions with customers. Working together with academic partners such as TU Delft will enable Ahold Delhaize and AIRLab to shape a technology-driven world in a responsible way. It helps us become a frontrunner in AI research and development and ultimately build capabilities that are scalable for the group.”
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