Kroger and Nuro launch autonomous delivery service in Houston

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US grocery retailer Kroger Co and robotics company Nuro have launched an autonomous grocery delivery service in Houston, Texas, that will be available through two Kroger stores, reaching customers residing in four local zip codes.

Since August 2018, Kroger and Nuro have operated a self-driving grocery delivery service in Scottsdale, Arizona, servicing a single zip code with an autonomous vehicle fleet. In late 2018, the partnership expanded to include Nuro’s custom vehicle, R1, marking the nation’s first fully unmanned delivery service available to the general public.

Together through the pilot, Kroger and Nuro have successfully and safely completed thousands of deliveries to customers in Scottsdale. With the upcoming launch, Kroger and Nuro will transfer the autonomous grocery delivery program to Houston for the next phase of the pilot.

“We’ve seen first-hand in Arizona how enthusiastic customers are about getting their Kroger groceries delivered by a Nuro self-driving vehicle,” said Nuro co-founder Dave Ferguson.

“Texas has been a leader in encouraging self-driving innovation, and we’re excited to help deliver that future for Houston – a dynamic, diverse, and welcoming metropolitan city that we’re excited to soon explore and serve with this autonomous delivery service.”

Yael Cosset, Kroger’s chief digital officer, said, “Our Arizona pilot program confirmed the flexibility and benefits provided by autonomous vehicles and how much customers are open to more innovative solutions. It’s always been our shared vision to scale this initiative to new markets, using world-changing technology to enable a new type of delivery service for our customers.

“We operate 102 stores in Houston – an energetic market that embraces digital and technology advancement. The launch is one more way we are committed to sustainably providing our customers with anything, anytime, and anywhere, the way they want it.”

Customers will be able to place orders via Kroger.com or the Kroger app for delivery seven days a week. Grocery orders can be scheduled for same-day or next-day delivery by Nuro’s fleet of self-driving vehicles, beginning this spring with Nuro’s self-driving Toyota Prius vehicles. The service costs US$5.95 (£4.49) with no minimum order.

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With over a decade of experience as a business and technology journalist working in B2B publishing, Hazel first joined UKi in 2011. After taking 18 months off to bring up her daughter and try her hand at marketing copywriting, she returned in January 2018 to do what she loves best – magazine editing! She is now the editor of UKi's Passenger Terminal World and Parcel and Postal Technology International magazines.

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