SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Nuro and The Kroger Co., which have been testing an unmanned grocery delivery service for a few months, today announced it would be available to the general public.
Since August, the two companies have tested the grocery delivery service with an autonomous Prius fleet, accompanied by vehicle operators. The companies said the vehicles have completed nearly 1,000 deliveries to customers. With today’s announcement, the fleet has expanded to include Nuro’s custom unmanned vehicle, known as the R1.
The R1 travels on public roads and has no driver or passengers, and it only transports goods, Nuro said. The company said it has been developing the R1 since 2016.
“Nuro envisions a world without errands, where everything is on demand and can be delivered affordably,” said Dave Ferguson, Nuro’s president and co-founder. “Operating a delivery service using our custom unmanned vehicles is an important first step toward that goal.”
“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. Through this exciting and innovative partnership, 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.”
Kroger said it experienced 60% digital sales growth in the third quarter, and its coverage area now reaches more than 90% of customer households.
The new unmanned grocery delivery service will be available from Fry’s Food Stores at 7770 East McDowell Road in Scottsdale. Customers can place delivery orders immediately, for deliveries seven days a week. Customers shop for items via the Frysfood.com website or its Fry’s Food Stores mobile app, and orders are placed based on slot availability.
Orders can be scheduled for same-day or next-day delivery by the fleet of self-driving vehicles, which now includes the R1 as well as the previous self-driving Prius vehicles. No minimum order is required, but there is a $5.95 flat fee service charge in addition to the cost of the groceries.
Earlier this year, Nuro raised $92 million in Series A funding, led by Banyan Capital and Greylock Partners. Other companies in the autonomous, last-mile delivery robot space include Starship, Marble, Robby Technologies, Piaggio Fast Forward, and Boxbot, among others.