Kroger driverless cars may soon start delivering your groceries following a new partnership with autonomous tech company Nuro.
The Rise Of Grocery Delivery
Grocery delivery has become more and more commonplace in the past few years. It seems like every couple of months a new company is popping up to help add convenience to the grocery shopping experience. While some grocery stores have their own delivery services, there are also a number of third-party companies that are shopping for users and contracting drivers to deliver groceries.
With the advent of the smartphone, having access to an on-demand menu of items you might want from the store is now more accessible than ever before. With the majority of these services, you can select the products you’re interested in from an app and have it deliver quickly to your doorstep – sometimes in as little as one hour – adding enough convenience that the additional delivery fees are more than worth the price.
For the busy and for the disabled, having access to grocery deliver is a godsend, and more and more grocery stores are starting to realize that better serving their customers through this avenue is extremely lucrative.
The latest company to announce their jump onto the grocery delivery bandwagon is Kroger, although the Kroger driverless cars may add a unique twist to the system that we haven’t seen thus far.
Kroger Driverless Cars
While the majority of these grocery delivery services hire drivers to ferry groceries to customers, the idea of Kroger driverless cars may lead to cost savings and increased convenience for the company in the long run. The grocery store chain announced on Thursday that they had partnered with autonomous vehicle company Nuro in order to deliver groceries using their service.
The Kroger driverless cars are just the latest in a series of steps from the grocery company in an effort to further the online grocery and delivery business. For example, they previously announced an investment in online grocer Ocado, which it will use to build out automated warehouses throughout the United States. They also recently purchased the meal kit company Home Chef.
In an interview with CNBC, Yael Cosset, Kroger’s chief digital officer, stated that “we cannot just rely on physical stores to reach all of our customers for delivery and pick-up.” This reinforces the company’s commitment to expanding their online offerings – presumably through this new fleet of Kroger driverless cars.
As mentioned above, the Kroger driverless cars will be provided by Nuro. Founded back in 2016 by Google engineers, this autonomous car company is built specifically for the business of transporting goods. This means that the fleet of vehicles is more utilitarian in nature – with a slimmer design focused solely on maximizing storage space and efficiency rather than comfortably carrying people.
In the interview with CNBC,Cosset did not provide a timeline for when the Kroger driverless cars would be ready for action, but did say that the schedule would be “aggressive.” They are planning to experiment with the technologies both in areas that overlap with and are separate from the areas in which it plans to build out the Ocado warehouses.
The partnership between Kroger and Nuro hopes to eventually build a sort of on-demand grocery service, affording people the same convenience that taking a quick run to the grocery store will provide. It’s a massive undertaking, but one that could definitely pay off for both companies if they are able to get in on the ground floor of this exciting new delivery arena.