- Kroger announced that it would be implementing a grocery delivery service that eliminates the need for drivers.
- Customers can place same-day delivery orders through an app.
- The scope of the project, however, only covers two stores in Houston for now.
Kroger announced on March 14 that it will be expanding its driverless car delivery service to Houston after successfully testing the waters in Scottsdale, Arizona, for the last eight months. The Kroger program is launching in partnership with tech company Nuro.
“Our Arizona pilot program confirmed the flexibility and benefits provided by autonomous vehicles and how much customers are open to more innovative solutions,” said Yael Cosset, Kroger’s chief digital officer, in a company press release.
Driverless Cars to Serve Kroger Customers in 4 Houston ZIP Codes
Of the 102 stores currently operated by Kroger in Houston, two will be equipped with the fully autonomous, driverless cars, servicing residents in four ZIP codes. Cosset added that “the launch is one more way we are committed to sustainably providing our customers with anything, anytime and anywhere, the way they want it.”
Kroger has made big moves to better position itself to compete with retail giants such as Amazon and Walmart, both which have strong footholds in technology and grocery retail. In March 2018, Kroger joined forces with the world’s largest online grocer, Ocado Group PLC, to process digital orders. In May of the same year, the grocer acquired HomeChef, a meal-kit company. Kroger also started selling its Simple Truth products on Alibaba’s Tmall Global platform in China in August 2018.
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Will Driverless Vehicles Be the New Norm?
If the automated Kroger delivery service proves successful in Houston, it could pave the way for expansion into other U.S. cities. Major retailers might very well take notice and consider incorporating autonomous delivery vehicles into their own business strategies as well. Some believe this is just the beginning, that driverless vehicles will likely become the norm for the general public in the next few decades.
Despite all the automation, customers will still carry the burdensome chore of unbagging groceries in their kitchens. But with unmanned cars becoming a reality, who’s to say an AI-driven solution to that problem isn’t right around the corner?