Kroger and Nuro Expand Unmanned Grocery Delivery to Houston
Mitchell Gracie posted on March 21, 2019 |
Houston marks the second phase of the pilot project for the unmanned grocery delivery service offered by Kroger and Nuro. (Image courtesy of Kroger and Nuro.)
Houston marks the second phase of the pilot project for the unmanned grocery delivery service offered by Kroger and Nuro. (Image courtesy of Kroger and Nuro.)

Houston residents can get excited with the recent announcement by The Kroger Co. for its expansion of an autonomous grocery delivery service to the Texan city, serving customers in four zip codes through two Houston Kroger stores. The grocery giant is continuing its partnership with Nuro, a robotics software and hardware company that focuses on bringing autonomous things into the daily lives of consumers.

The launch is pushing off from the success of their pilot program in Scottsdale, Ariz., that has been serving Scottsdale residents in a single zip code since August 2018. The expansion will not be the end of the Arizona program as it will continue under the Kroger-subsidiary known as Fry’s Food and Drug Stores.

"We've seen first-hand in Arizona how enthusiastic customers are about getting their Kroger groceries delivered by a Nuro self-driving vehicle," said Dave Ferguson, co-founder of Nuro.

"Texas has been a leader in encouraging self-driving innovation, and we're excited to help deliver that future for Houston—a dynamic, diverse, and welcoming metropolitan city that we're excited to soon explore and serve with this autonomous delivery service."

The announcement comes just weeks after Nuro secured $940 million in funding and financing from the SoftBank Vision Fund to optimize its services.

"Our Arizona pilot program confirmed the flexibility and benefits provided by autonomous vehicles and how much customers are open to more innovative solutions," remarked Yael Cosset, Kroger's chief digital officer.

"It's always been our shared vision to scale this initiative to new markets, using world-changing technology to enable a new type of delivery service for our customers. We operate 102 stores in Houston—an energetic market that embraces digital and technology advancement. The launch is one more way we are committed to sustainably providing our customers with anything, anytime, and anywhere, the way they want it."

Orders can be placed on the Kroger website. The delivery service will come with a small price of $5.95 and will be offered seven days a week.

Similar to the Scottsdale pilot project, the Houston expansion will utilize Nuro’s Toyota Prius fleet of customized self-driving cars. The companies plan to unveil a new generation of customized autonomous vehicles later in 2019. The Scottsdale pilot project was the first fully unmanned delivery service offered in the United States. Before switching to a customized Toyota Prius fleet, the program included Nuro’s R1 vehicle. Since late last year, the project in Arizona has seen the safe delivery of thousands of grocery hauls to its customers.


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