CINCINNATI -- The Kroger Co. and driverless delivery vehicle maker Nuro are piloting a self-driving grocery service in Scottsdale, Ariz.
The pilot launched at one Fry’s Food Stores location on Aug. 16. Local customers in the 85257 ZIP code can place an order that will be delivered by a self-driving Nuro vehicle either through the Fry’s Food Stores website or through the mobile app. Deliveries can be scheduled for same-day or next-day.
Any order does not need to meet a minimum price requirement, but each charges a flat $5.95 fee, no matter the cost of the groceries. Mountain View, Calif.-based Nuro will begin the pilot using its self-driving Toyota Prius fleet and will introduce its custom R1 driverless vehicle this fall. The R1 is considerably smaller than the standard consumer vehicle and designed to hold packages for delivery.
"We're excited to launch our autonomous vehicle delivery pilot with Fry's in Scottsdale," said Kroger 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," said Nuro co-founder Dave Ferguson. "We're proud to contribute and turn our vision for local commerce into a real, accessible service that residents of Scottsdale can use immediately. Our goal is to save people time, while operating safely and learning how we can further improve the experience."
Cincinnati-based grocer Kroger manages 2,779 retail food stores under a variety of banner names. Kroger’s delivery initiatives are a part of the Kroger Restock plan, which was launched in 2017 to create an omnichannel shopping experience and improve processes. It sold its 762 convenience stores to EG Group, Blackburn, Lancashire, United Kingdom, earlier this year for $2.15 billion.
Nuro's first product is a self-driving vehicle designed for local goods transportation. The company is led by experts in robotics, artificial intelligence and computer vision. Privately held, Nuro powers partnerships with local businesses seeking new ways to cost effectively transport goods and create new experiences for their customers.
Photo courtesy of Kroger.