US grocery chain Kroger Co. says it is launching “the first-ever unmanned delivery service available to the general public.”
In partnership with robotics company Nuro, Kroger has operated an autonomous grocery delivery fleet in Scottsdale, Arizona since August, using Prius self-driving vehicles with human operators on board. The service has completed some 1000 deliveries to the general public.
With the latest announcement, Kroger and Nuro are expanding the fleet to include Nuro’s R1 fully autonomous vehicle, which has been under development since 2016. The two companies partnered in June.
"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, Kroger's chief digital officer. "Our autonomous delivery pilot with Nuro over the past few months continues to prove the benefit of the flexible and reliable technology. Through this exciting and innovative partnership, we are delivering a great customer experience and advancing Kroger's commitment to redefine the grocery experience by creating an ecosystem that offers our customers anything, anytime, and anywhere."
The new service is being offered at a single Fry’s Food Stores location in Scottsdale. Customers can shop online or via the Fry’s Food Stores mobile app seven days a week for same-day or next-day delivery. There is a flat $5.95 fee for the service, with no minimum order.