Tesco is trialling a new mapping system for its online delivery fleet as it looks to avoid traffic jams in the run up to the crucial Christmas period.

The grocer has developed a new system called Mapster which it is trialling in London to allow it to identify high volumes of traffic and inform customers if their delivery is running late.

Tesco chief executive Philip Clarke said: “We have created Mapster, an application which tracks Tesco.com vans in real time and so if a van gets caught in traffic we can identify that centrally and alert customers.

“We’re currently piloting this in some stores around London and we’re planning to roll this out to the UK business early next year.”

The retailer delivers online orders in London from its network of four dark stores as well as from a number of Tesco Superstores and Extras.

Ocado already operates a similar system whereby shoppers will receive a text if drivers are running late.

The move follows Tesco’s launch of one hour delivery slots for customers as the battle over online fulfillment continues to intensify.

Clarke told the FT Innovate conference today that Tesco is channeling the spirit of founder Jack Cohen to breed and test new ideas and take risks. He said that Tesco currently has 173 trials in progress.

He said: “No one – no organisation, no retailer – can hide under the duvet and hope that change will not affect them.  Far from it: we need to embrace change and create new ways to harness its power.”

Clarke said that Tesco is developing a number of initiatives at its Hindustan Service Centre in Bangalore to roll-out within the group. The grocer has launched grocery home shopping in Slovakia, Czech Republic and Poland in the next year and is due to launch the service in Thailand imminently.

Tesco has also launched a new game in five of its Metro stores in London.

The More Choice Challenge, which is also on the grocer’s Facebook page, involves players pressing a button on screen to bring up the option of having their photo taken so their head appears on a character at the bottom of the screen with a shopping trolley - alternatively a generic character is used.

The game is to move the trolley left and right to catch as many products as possible in 30 seconds as they fall from the top of the screen, with a leaderboard keeping track of which customers have done the best.

Tesco said the game allows the retailer to showcase the 200,000 products it sells via its Tesco Direct website. The initiative follows the opening of a pop-up store in Covent Garden for its F&F clothing brand earlier this year, as the retailer aims to familiarize London shoppers with its non-food range as it struggles to find properties to open large supermarkets which include non-food in the capital.

Tesco Direct marketing director Matthew Entwistle said: “This is a fun way of making shoppers aware of the massive range of products we have available online, everything from luxury fragrances to electric guitars.”