Kroger to test grocery deliveries with driverless cars
Kroger to test grocery deliveries with driverless cars
Kroger Co., Cincinnati-based supermarket brand could keep away its customers from crowded grocery aisles by introducing a fleet of diminutive driverless for reducded delivery costs.
As per the the test program announced Thursday, Kroger could become the first U.S. grocer to make robotic car deliveries to take control in case something goes wrong.
Cincinnati-based Kroger is teaming up with Nuro, a Silicon Valley startup founded two years ago by two engineers who worked on self-driving cars at Google. That Google project is now known as Waymo, which plans to introduce a ride-hailing service that is supposed to begin picking up passengers in fully autonomous cars by the end of this year.
Kroger is only saying its self-driving delivery service will start by the end of this year, like Waymo which also claimed robotic delivery anytime this year.
The location of the delivery service hasn't been determined yet either, although it most likely will involve Fry's supermarkets in California or Arizona, said Nuro co-founder Dave Ferguson.
Much like people summon an Uber or Lyft ride, customers will be able to order groceries using a mobile app. After the order is placed, a driverless vehicle will deliver the groceries at a curb, requiring the customers to be present to fetch the items. The vehicles will probably be opened with a numeric code.
Kroger presently caters about 20 different markets in the U.S offering grocery delivery in vehicles driven by people at about 1,200 of its 2,800 stores. If the Nuro tests go well, Kroger say it's likely to expand its use of driverless cars, potentially allowing its supermarkets to reduce its delivery fees and reassign workers who had been driving cars to other jobs focused on improving customer service.
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