Kroger begins unmanned ecommerce deliveries

Stewart Samuel
Program Director - Canada
@RetailAnalysis

Date : 18 December 2018

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.

Source: Kroger

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.

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