Kroger Backs Up Mobile Payments Shopping With Autonomous Delivery Vehicles

December 20, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

You’ve got to hand it to Kroger. You really do; it’s one of the biggest grocery store chains around but it’s often overshadowed by big box competitors like Walmart and Target and such. It’s also taken a few hits at Amazon’s hands, especially since the Whole Foods purchase. Kroger, however, has been determined to not go the way of the dodo and has stepped up its offerings to make itself more attractive to customers. The latest features autonomous vehicles making deliveries to customers.

Of course, this is just a start, so don’t look for Kroger robot cars driving down your street any time soon. Unless, of course, you live in Arizona, where the program is getting started. This actually comes on the heels of an earlier test program that connected Kroger and Nuro, a California firm that focuses on autonomous vehicles. The original test program called for a fleet of Prius cars that had actual operators in the cars, but now, it’s stepped up to complete driverless capability with a vehicle known as the R1. Kroger and Nuro have been working on this concept, reports note, since 2016.

Yael Cosset, Kroger’s Chief Digital Officer, noted “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.”

Improving convenience to consumers is seldom a plan that goes awry. Having groceries delivered will almost certainly prove welcome, especially in areas that experience a lot of inclement weather. Imagine the notion of customers no longer needing to flood the stores for bread and milk when a blizzard is coming, but rather, just being able to order it remotely. Granted, this is nowhere near as good as the idea of being able to send flying drones, but with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) still acting as a drag on the industry, it may be the closest we can get.

Forcing firms to buy vehicles in order to get delivery of even small items is ludicrous, but it seems to be about the only way we can get anywhere with drone delivery.