First driverless delivery service launches for general public

December 19, 2018 //By Rich Pell
First driverless delivery service launches for general public
Autonomous delivery startup Nuro (Mountain View, CA) and grocery retailing giant The Kroger Co. (Cincinnati, OH) have announced the launch of the first-ever unmanned delivery service available to the general public.

The delivery service follows a pilot program started in August by the companies in Scottsdale, AZ, which operated with an autonomous Prius fleet accompanied by vehicle operators. Now, say the companies, after completing nearly one thousand deliveries to the general public, the fleet is expanding to include Nuro's custom unmanned vehicle known as the R1.

The R1 travels on public roads, has no driver or passengers, and only transports goods. Nuro has been developing the R1 since 2016, and announced its partnership with Kroger in June.

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

On Kroger's part, Yael Cosset, Kroger's chief digital officer says, "Kroger customers are looking for new, convenient ways to feed their families and purchase the products they need quickly through services like pickup and delivery. Our autonomous delivery pilot with Nuro over the past few months continues to prove the benefit of the flexible and reliable technology."

"Through this exciting and innovative partnership," says Cosset, "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."

With the service, which will deliver from a single Fry's Food Stores location, customers can place delivery orders immediately, for delivery seven days a week via the store's website or its mobile app and place their order based on slot availability. The cost is a $5.95 flat fee with no minimum order, and orders can be scheduled for same-day or next-day delivery.


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