Kroger is launching unmanned vehicles today in its Arizona test market. CONTRIBUTED

Kroger testing unmanned vehicles in quest to speed up deliveries

Kroger has started a new step in its move toward more efficient delivery of groceries.

The company announced today that, in partnership with robotics company Nuro, it is introducing unmanned vehicles to its test market in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Since August, the duo has operated its self-driving Prius fleet, but each had a human operator. In the last several months, the vehicles have completed nearly 1,000 deliveries to the general public.

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Kroger today is launching the unmanned R1 vehicle, which has no driver or passengers, just groceries and other goods.

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

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Kroger has launched several initiatives in recent years including grocery delivery through Instacart and its grocery pickup option, formerly known as Kroger ClickList. Digital sales increased 60 percent in the third quarter compared to the same period in 2017.

“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,” said Yael Cosset, Kroger’s chief digital officer. “Our autonomous delivery pilot with Nuro over the past few months continues to prove the benefit of the flexible and reliable technology.”

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