Kroger, the second largest largest retailer in United States announced today that the company along with its partner Nuro, a robotics company will start testing driverless grocery delivery in Scottsdale, Arizona.
“We’re excited to launch our autonomous vehicle delivery pilot with Fry’s in Scottsdale,” said Kroger Chief Digital Officer Yael Cosset. “Kroger wants to bring more customers the convenience of affordable grocery delivery, and our pilot with Nuro will help us test and learn to understand customer acceptance of autonomous vehicles in our seamless offering. We thank Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane, and the Scottsdale community for being terrific partners and for supporting customer-focused innovation.”
As Amazon keeps threatening big box retailers by gobbling market share in the US retail market year after year, companies like Walmart and Kroger are trying hard to protect their turf by embracing technology.
Both Walmart and Kroger are now working with autonomous driving technology companies as they try to tighten their reach with retail customers. Walmart joined hands with Waymo to transport customers to and from Walmart stores after they have placed orders online.
Later this week, Walmart and Waymo will launch a test pilot that gives early riders savings on groceries each week when they are ordered on Walmart.com. While orders are being prepared at the store, Waymo vehicles will transport the rider to and from Walmart to collect their groceries. – Medium (July 25th, 2018)
When the number one retailer in the country joins hands with number one autonomous driving technology company, the second largest player cannot sit and watch the events unfold. Kroger, naturally has now stepped up by working with Nuro to test its driverless delivery program.
Though it will take many more years before autonomous vehicles start delivering goods to at our doorstep, I think its the step in the right direction.
Nearly every major automaker in the world is working on some form of autonomous driving tech. Major technology companies like Google and Apple seem are in the fray as well. Google has been working on autonomous tech for more than a decade now and considering the depth of the company’s pocket, they are not going to stop until they get rid of the driver from the cars.
But as things get closer to reality, autonomous tech companies would much rather continue real world testing of their technology by transporting goods like groceries instead of using human passengers as test mules.
It’s a logical step and retailer’s are now playing along.