U.S.: Kroger to test driverless vehicles for same-day grocery deliveries
Leading U.S. supermarket chain Kroger (NYSE: KR) has formed a partnership with Nuro to pilot on-road, autonomous vehicles for grocery deliveries, in what it claims will " redefine the grocery customer experience."
Nuro is the maker of the world's first fully unmanned road vehicle, according to a release.
Customers will be able to place same-day delivery orders through Kroger's ClickList ordering system and Nuro's app. During the test, orders will be delivered by Nuro's fleet of autonomous vehicles.
This is the first application and deployment of Nuro's hardware and software. The pilot market will be announced soon and is expected to begin this fall.
Kroger's expansive retail footprint of 2,800 stores in 35 states combined with Nuro's technology platform "will change the status quo of grocery delivery through convenience at a low price,", the companies said.
"As part of Restock Kroger, we have already started to redefine the grocery customer experience and expand the coverage area for our anything, anytime and anywhere offering," says Yael Cosset, Kroger's chief digital officer.
"Partnering with Nuro, a leading technology company, will create customer value by providing Americans access to fast and convenient delivery at a fair price."
Nuro co-founder Dave Ferguson says unmanned delivery will be a "game-changer for local commerce."
"We're thrilled to test this new delivery experience to bring grocery customers new levels of convenience and value," he says.
"Our safe, reliable, and affordable service, combined with Kroger's ubiquitous brand, is a powerful first step in our mission to accelerate the benefits of robotics for everyday life."
This deal follows the announcement of two other major partnerships for Kroger this year. In March it announced a US$700 million merger deal with meal kit company HomeChef, and in May it said it had reached an exclusive deal with online grocery specialist Ocado to build e-commerce infrastructure in the U.S.