Unmanned Vehicles Start Delivering Groceries

Kroger announced that it has begun to use unmanned vehicles to deliver groceries in Scottsdale, Arizona in partnership with robotics company Nuro.

Since August, the companies have completed nearly one thousand deliveries to the general public in Scottsdale. They used an unmanned Prius fleet accompanied by vehicle operators.

Now, the fleet is expanding to include Nuro’s custom unmanned vehicle known as the R1, according to a press release. The R1 travels on public roads and has no driver, no passengers and only transports goods.

Nuro has been developing the R1 since 2016, and announced its partnership with Kroger, America’s largest supermarket retailer, in June.

“Nuro envisions a world without errands, where everything is on-demand and can be delivered affordably. Operating a delivery service using our custom unmanned vehicles is an important first step toward that goal,” explained Nuro President and co-founder Dave Ferguson.

Kroger experienced 60 percent digital sales growth in the third quarter, and its seamless coverage area now reaches more than 90 percent of customer households.

The R1, when summoned, will travel within a 1-mile radius of the Fry’s Food grocery store just east of the Phoenix Zoo.

It will travel up to 25 miles per hour on residential roads but will stay clear of main roads or highways, according to Pam Giannonatti at Kroger Co., which owns Fry’s.

“Kroger customers are looking for new, convenient ways to feed their families and purchase the products they need quickly through services like pickup and delivery,” said Yael Cosset, Kroger’s chief digital officer.

“Our autonomous delivery pilot with Nuro over the past few months continues to prove the benefit of the flexible and reliable technology. Through this exciting and innovative partnership, we are delivering a great customer experience and advancing Kroger’s commitment to redefine the grocery experience by creating an ecosystem that offers our customers anything, anytime, and anywhere.”

Customers of Fry’s Food located at 7770 East McDowell Road, Scottsdale, can place delivery orders on their smartphones or laptops. Grocery orders can be scheduled for same-day or next-day delivery by Nuro’s fleet of unmanned vehicles after paying a $5.95 flat fee.