Nuro and The Kroger Co., America’s largest supermarket retailer, recently announced the launch of the first-ever unmanned delivery service available to the general public for a $5.95 flat fee, with no minimum purchase required.
Since August, the companies have operated a self-driving grocery delivery service in Scottsdale, Ariz., with an autonomous Toyota Prius fleet accompanied by vehicle operators. The autonomous vehicles have completed nearly 1,000 deliveries to the general public.
With the launch, the fleet is expanding to include Nuro's custom unmanned vehicle, known as the R1. The R1 travels on public roads and has no driver and no passengers and transports only goods. Nuro has been developing the R1 since 2016 and announced its partnership with Kroger 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," Nuro president and co-founder Dave Ferguson explained.
"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," Kroger chief digital officer Yael Cosset said. "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."
Kroger experienced 60% digital sales growth in the third quarter, and its seamless coverage area now reaches more than 90% of customer households.