SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Kroger has launched what it calls the first-ever autonomous vehicle delivery service for the general public from its Fry’s Food Store in Scottsdale, according to Supermarket News.
Kroger has been working with Nuro, a California-based robotics and artificial intelligence firm, to develop and test the service. The test included 1,000 grocery deliveries using a fleet of self-driving Prius cars staffed with vehicle operators, Kroger said. As of the official launch, the delivery fleet now includes the Nuro R1 custom unmanned vehicle, which has been in development since 2016. It will travel on public roads without a driver or passengers.
"Kroger customers are looking for new, convenient ways to feed their families and purchase the products they need quickly through services like pickup and delivery," said Yael Cosset, chief digital officer at Kroger. "Our autonomous delivery pilot with Nuro over the past few months continues to prove the benefit of the flexible and reliable technology.”
Fry’s delivery customers can shop for their groceries at FrysFood.com or via the Fry’s mobile app and place their orders based on available time slots. Orders can be scheduled for same-day or next-day arrival. The service is available daily and costs $5.95, with no minimum order.
It’s been a good year for Kroger. The company saw digital sales jump 60% in the third quarter, and its omnichannel coverage area now reaches more than 90% of customer households, including through its own Kroger Ship and Pickup online grocery services.
"Nuro envisions a world without errands, where everything is on-demand and can be delivered affordably,” said Dave Ferguson, president and co-founder of Nuro. “Operating a delivery service using our custom unmanned vehicles is an important first step toward that goal.”