Automotive

Largest supermarket chain in the US to test autonomous delivery vehicles

Largest supermarket chain in t...
Order online and the unmanned vehicle delivers to your home
Order online and the unmanned vehicle delivers to your home
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This kind of unmanned grocery delivery system will be tested later this year
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This kind of unmanned grocery delivery system will be tested later this year
Order online and the unmanned vehicle delivers to your home
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Order online and the unmanned vehicle delivers to your home
Nuro's autonomous delivery vehicle loaded with groceries
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Nuro's autonomous delivery vehicle loaded with groceries
The partnership with Kroger means thousands of supermarkets around America could integrate this system
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The partnership with Kroger means thousands of supermarkets around America could integrate this system
Nuro's vehicle is half the size of a passenger car
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Nuro's vehicle is half the size of a passenger car
Specifically designed as a delivery vehicle with no driver
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Specifically designed as a delivery vehicle with no driver
Exact details are unclear at this stage so we are not sure how much one vehicle can hold or deliver
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Exact details are unclear at this stage so we are not sure how much one vehicle can hold or deliver

It's inevitable that in the future our streets will be crawling with autonomous vehicles of all shapes and sizes. Massive supermarket retailer Kroger is racing ahead to bring autonomous home deliveries to the market, revealing it will begin testing unmanned delivery vehicles later this year in a new partnership with start-up Nuro.

Early in 2018, we saw the launch of Nuro, a company developing an entirely unique, fully autonomous delivery vehicle. The company was founded by two former principal engineers with Alphabet's self-driving subsidiary Waymo. The vehicle is half the size of a passenger car and designed to quietly zip around neighborhoods delivering customer orders.

Nuro's autonomous delivery vehicle loaded with groceries
Nuro's autonomous delivery vehicle loaded with groceries

Now America's largest supermarket retailer is joining forces with Nuro to bring the concept of autonomous delivery to the mass market. Kroger has a massive retail footprint in the United States with nearly 2,800 supermarkets and department stores across 35 states. It is the second largest general retailer in the country, so this partnership is a serious step towards making these unmanned delivery systems a reality.

Details are limited at this stage, but the company suggests it will roll out a pilot test later this year. It's unknown where this will take place but it will utilize Kroger's pre-existing online ClickList ordering system and and Nuro's app. The process is pretty straightforward, place an order for groceries online and they are picked, packed and loaded onto a Nuro vehicle. These small autonomous vehicles will then navigate to their destination where customers meet it at the curb and take receipt of their groceries.

Specifically designed as a delivery vehicle with no driver
Specifically designed as a delivery vehicle with no driver

A similar, but much less refined, system was revealed last year in London. This experimental project called CargoPod enjoyed a seemingly successful pilot, but the system proposed by Nuro and Kroger seems much more expansive. At the smaller end of the spectrum we have also seen Starship Technologies' tiny delivery robots rolling out around the world over the past couple of years.

"Unmanned delivery will be a game-changer for local commerce, and together with Kroger, we're thrilled to test this new delivery experience to bring grocery customers new levels of convenience and value," says Dave Ferguson, co-founder of Nuro.

Source: The Kroger Co. via PRnewswire

4 comments
MD
What an ideal. Customer to meet delivery vehicle at the curb.... wow. What's with these companies where is the secure dropbox etc... the ideal of autonomous and unpersoned is that it is a self contained system able to function as its own ecosystem..... lol
Wolf0579
I'm wondering if all this unmanned delivery is going to usher in a new breed of porch pirates who will intercept these vehicles en-route, and relieve them of their contents at arrival.
ljaques
Hey, Kroger owns Fred Meyer stores where I live, so it may come here some day. Alas, I live 3.5 miles out of town, and even Safeway doesn't deliver out here. I had to laugh when I saw that tee the guy was wearing. At first, I read CUckList, and I thought he was brave to wear it. But it's ClickList. <g>
paul314
All we need is a servant to pick up the groceries and store them to be back at the victorian well-off person's idea of how to shop.