Kroger has expanded its fleet of delivery vehicles to include Nuro’s custom unmanned vehicle, the R1.
Almost 1,000 deliveries completed as part of pilot program
Kroger and Nuro first partnered on a self-driving delivery service in August, piloting a programme in Scottsdale, Arizona. This utilised a fleet of Prius vehicles, accompanied by vehicle operators, with almost 1,000 customer deliveries completed. The expansion of the programme to include the R1, which has no driver or passengers, is a significant move, and the first of its kind in the US.
Opportunity to scale the model
The fully electric vehicles have locking compartments and shoppers will receive a code to unlock it when they place their order. Each vehicle weighs around 1,500 pounds and have cameras and sensors to allow them to drive autonomously. With last mile delivery typically the highest cost element within online grocery fulfilment, improving cost efficiencies in this area could provide significant operational savings for Kroger, helping it to scale its model.
Arizona a key testing ground for driverless vehicles
Customer acceptance of self-driving vehicles will be a key focus for the test. Kroger will not be alone in testing self-driving vehicles in Arizona. While Uber recently ended its test in the market to focus on California. Alphabet-owned Waymo has been testing in Phoenix for over a year. Recently it announced plans to partner with five companies in the city, including Walmart. Under this pilot, Waymo vehicles will transport the rider to and from Walmart to collect their groceries.
Webcast: 2019 global retail trends
24 January, 10am GMT/11 am CET, 30mins
Listen in and ask your questions | IGD future thinkers, Toby Pickard, Vanessa Henry and Chris Irish, will discuss the global retail trends we expect to see in 2019, from the viewpoints of retail innovation, grocery shoppers and supply chain.
Register for free »