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Kroger, Nuro launch delivery service using unmanned vehicles

Deliveries began Tuesday in Arizona
Kroger and Nuro Launch First-Ever Unmanned Delivery Service.
Posted at 11:02 AM, Dec 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-18 11:02:49-05

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Kroger Co. and software company Nuro are delivering groceries with robots.

The companies, which announced a partnership in June, launched the first-ever unmanned delivery service Tuesday in the Scottsdale, Arizona market. Testing began with autonomous Prius vehicles that were accompanied by vehicle operators. The companies said they successfully completed nearly 1,000 deliveries to customers, according to a news release.

Starting Tuesday, the fleet includes Nuro’s unmanned vehicle known as the R1, which travels on roads without a driver and is used to transport goods.

"Nuro envisions a world without errands, where everything is on-demand and can be delivered affordably,” said Nuro President and co-founder Dave Ferguson. “Operating a delivery service using our custom unmanned vehicles is an important first step toward that goal.”

Currently customers can place delivery orders from a single location in Scottsdale. Orders can be scheduled for same-day or next-day delivery for a flat fee of $5.95.

Nuro and Kroger have not indicated when the service may expand to other markets, but Kroger's chief digital officer calls this step “exciting and innovative.”

“We are delivering a great customer experience and advancing Kroger's commitment to redefine the grocery experience by creating an ecosystem that offers our customers anything, anytime, and anywhere,” Yael Cosset said in a written statement.

This isn’t Kroger’s only recent endeavor involving robots.

The Kroger Co. expects to create about 410 jobs through a $55 million project in Monroe. The company has chosen Monroe as the first region in the U.S. to get a robot-powered warehouse designed by the British online grocer Ocado.