Kroger begins testing of driverless grocery deliveries from today

Deliveries by self-driving cars from the Fry’s store will cost $5.95 with no minimum order and will be available at addresses within the store’s zip code of 85257.

On Thursday, U.S. supermarket operator Kroger Co stated it will begin testing driverless grocery deliveries from today and to do so it has partnered with tech firm Nuro at a single Fry’s Food Store in Scottsdale, Arizona.

In their bid to better compete with the world’s largest online retailer Amazon.com, retailers in the U.S., including Wal-Mart and Kroger have teamed up with autonomous vehicle companies to lower the cost of their “last-mile” deliveries to customer’s doorsteps. The move comes in the wake of Amazon.com rolling out free Whole Foods deliveries for subscribers of its Prime program.

“Kroger wants to bring more customers the convenience of affordable grocery delivery,” said Yael Cosset, Kroger’s Chief Digital Officer, who added that the test will also gauge consumer demand for the service.

In the first phase of the test, Kroger will use a fleet of Toyota Prius cars equipped with Nuro technology. These cars will have seats for human drivers who can override autonomous systems in case of an emergency.

Incidentally, Nuro will begin testing its autonomous driverless R1 delivery van, which has no seats for human drivers, this autumn, said the companies.

“While we compete final certification and testing of the R1, the Prius will be delivering groceries and helping us improve the overall service,” said Nuro’s spokeswoman.

According to Kroger, deliveries by self-driving cars from the Fry’s store will cost $5.95 with no minimum order and will be available at addresses within the store’s zip code of 85257.

Waymo and Walmart have partnered to test a service that shuttles Phoenix shoppers to stores to collect online grocery orders.

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