Supermarket chain Kroger and Silicon Valley startup Nuro have launched an unmanned delivery service in Arizona, US.
The companies have been testing the new delivery service in a pilot scheme since August and have completed around 1,000 deliveries.
As part of the pilot scheme, the companies operated an autonomous Prius fleet accompanied by vehicle operators. With the latest launch, the fleet has been expanded to include Nuro’s custom unmanned vehicle R1.
Nuro has been developing the R1 vehicle since 2016. The tech start-up announced its partnership with Kroger in June.
Nuro president and co-founder Dave Ferguson said: “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.”
Kroger chief digital officer Yael Cosset said: “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.
“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 saw 60% growth in digital sales in Q3 2018, and its coverage area now reaches more than 90% of households in the Scottsdale area. Orders do not carry a minimum value and will be delivered on either the same day as ordering or the following day for $5.95.
In addition, orders will be delivered by Nuro’s fleet of self-driving vehicles, which consists of R1 and self-driving Prius vehicles.
Kroger serves more than nine million customers a day and has 2,779 retail food stores.