Autonomous vehicles have largely been aimed at replacing taxis but they can also be used for a variety of other purposes. With that in mind, Kroger and Nuro have joined forces for an autonomous grocery delivery pilot program.
Set to kick off this fall, the pilot program will be launched in a soon to be announced market. There’s no word on which city will be selected but the service will allow Kroger shoppers to place an order through the company’s ClickList ordering system. Employees will then collect the customer’s order and place it in one of Nuro’s autonomous delivery vehicles.
The vehicle will then drive itself to the customer’s home so they can retrieve their groceries from one of the car’s two compartments. In order to do this, customers will be sent an access code to open the vehicle’s door when it arrives in their driveway. Once the groceries are unloaded, the vehicle will drive to its next stop or return to the store.
Kroger’s is America’s largest supermarket retailer as it has 2,800 stores in 35 different states. If the pilot program is successful, it wouldn’t be surprising if the autonomous delivery service was expanded to additional markets.
Kroger hinted at this possibility as it noted “Nuro’s technology platform will change the status quo of grocery delivery through convenience at a low price.” The service will also help Kroger fend off competitors such as Amazon’s Prime Pantry which ships groceries directly to customers.
In a statement, Kroger chief digital officer Yael Cosset said “We are incredibly excited about the potential of our innovative partnership with Nuro to bring the future of grocery delivery to customers today.” He added, “Partnering with Nuro, a leading technology company, will create customer value by providing Americans access to fast and convenient delivery at a fair price.”