American retailer Kroger has announced the start of the trial of its autonomous supermarket delivery service in Arizona. The order is placed either online or via the company’s app and then hand picked by the supermarkets personal shoppers, before being placed inside one of the autonomous vehicles which deliver the groceries to the customers home. Consumers are charged a flat rate of just $5.95 and can specify a time for delivery.
The trail comes as a result of a collaboration between Kroger, and driverless car manufactures Nuro. The trial will firstly use a fleet driverless Toyota Prius’ while custom R1 driverless cars will begin operations later in the year.
“We’re excited to launch our autonomous vehicle delivery pilot in Scottsdale,” said Kroger’s chief digital officer Yael Cosset. “Kroger wants to bring more customers the convenience of affordable grocery delivery, and our pilot with Nuro will help us test and learn to understand customer acceptance of autonomous vehicles in our seamless offering.”
“Arizona is home to some of the most innovative autonomous vehicle testing. Our goal is to save people time while operating safely and learning how we can further improve the experience,” said Dave Ferguson co-founder of Nuro.
The announcement comes as more supermarkets turn towards more user-friendly delivery options. Earlier this year Walmart revealed the testing of driverless cars for customer pickups. Customers taking part in Walmart’s pilot project place an Online Grocery Pickup order on the supermarket's website, while personal shoppers pick and pack the request based on the customers’ pick-up times. Waymo, the driverless car then transports the customers to and from the pickup.