Kroger, which calls itself America’s largest supermarket retailer, has partnered with robotics company Nuro to pilot an autonomous grocery-delivery service in an undisclosed market in the fall.
Kroger said customers will be able to place same-day delivery orders through its online grocery-order service ClickList and Nuro’s app. And, during the test, orders will be delivered by Nuro’s fleet of autonomous vehicles, which, in a post on the Kroger Stories site, Kroger noted were specifically designed to only transport goods. Customers will be given access codes to open the door of the vehicle when it arrives in their driveways.
Kroger said in a statement that Nuro will help it “make the convenience of grocery delivery accessible and affordable for customers everywhere.”
Accessible, affordable grocery delivery has indeed been a challenge throughout the grocery space.
For instance, U.S. retail giant Walmart is on a mission to bring grocery delivery to 40 percent of the country in 2018 and has forged a slew of last-mile partnerships in the effort, with on-demand delivery service DoorDash in Atlanta, Postmates in Charlotte, N.C, and Uber and Deliv in Denver, San Jose, Phoenix, Dallas, Tampa and Orlando.
Meanwhile, self-proclaimed “upscale discount retailer” Target has said it will offer same-day deliveries nationwide through grocery-delivery service Shipt, which it acquired in December for $550 million. It began rolling out same-day delivery of groceries and other products via Shipt in Alabama and Florida in February.
“We are incredibly excited … to bring the future of grocery delivery to customers today,” said Kroger’s chief digital officer Yael Cosset in a statement. “As part of Restock Kroger [what the retailer calls its plan to ‘redefine the food and grocery customer experience in America’], we have already started to … expand the coverage area for our anything, anytime and anywhere offering.”
Kroger has 2,800 stores in 35 states.
This is the first deployment of Nuro’s hardware and software, which Kroger said is the world’s first fully unmanned road vehicle.