Kroger Co., the American supermarket giant, has reportedly announced that the company has introduced self-driving vehicles for online grocery delivery. Incidentally, Kroger has also made it to the headlines for having formed an agreement to sell You Technology, a digital rebate publishing subsidiary, to Inmar, the popular e-commerce analytics company.
Sources with the knowledge of the development reveal that Kroger has launched its debut autonomous vehicle grocery delivery service at Fry’s Food Store in Scottsdale, that follows Kroger’s successful pilot program with Nuro, a California-based Robotics & AI specialist, which had apparently commenced in August.
The delivery service testing in Scottsdale deployed a fleet of unmanned Prius cars with vehicle operators for about a thousand grocery deliveries. With the service now launched officially, the fleet may be extended to include the Nuro custom unmanned vehicle R1. Sources also reveal that the vehicle grocery delivery services can be availed by customers via Fry’s mobile application or at FrysFood.com through which users would have to place orders according to their desired time slots. Post the order placement, Kroger will apparently ensure delivery though self-driving Prius cars or the Nuro R1 unmanned vehicle.
Yael Cosset, Kroger’s Chief Digital Officer, was quoted saying that the company’s autonomous delivery pilot with Nuro, over the last few months is continuing to offer seamless customer service and the company is now advancing its commitment to redefine grocery experience for customers through the innovative collaboration.
For the record, Kroger’s digital sales jumped 60% in the third quarter, and its omnichannel coverage apparently reaches over 90% of customer households, via the firm’s Kroger Ship and Pickup online grocery services.
Incidentally, Kroger’s partnership with Inmar is aimed at combining the latter’s expertise in open platform management with YouTech’s online engagement capabilities that would eventually enhance accessibility and expand coupon & rebate distribution for CPG (consumer packaged goods) companies.
The transaction is slated to close in the first quarter of Kroger’s fiscal year 2019, pending regulatory approval. Terms of the deal are not yet disclosed.