Please consider Kroger Launches First-Ever Unmanned Grocery Delivery Service.

Cincinnati-based Kroger, the nation’s largest operator of traditional supermarkets, is starting unmanned grocery delivery service today in Scottsdale, Ariz., using custom-made Nuro unmanned vehicles. Kroger says it’s the first-ever unmanned delivery service that the public can access.

Kroger began testing self-driving delivery from its Fry’s Food Store in Scottsdale in August. The initial test used self-driving Prius vehicles that included vehicle operators riding along in the car. It has made nearly 1,000 deliveries using those vehicles.

Silicon Valley-based Nuro has developed a custom vehicle known as R1 for Kroger to use to deliver groceries to customers’ homes. Kroger is launching the use of R1 in Scottsdale today. R1 is made specifically for deliveries with no space for passengers or a driver.

Customers within the delivery radius surrounding the Fry’s store in Scottsdale can place orders on Fry’s website or its mobile app and schedule delivery the same day or the next day for a flat fee of $5.95 and no minimum order. The Nuro vehicle drives to customers’ homes and alerts them that it has arrived. Customers are sent a code to use to access the Nuro vehicle and take their groceries.

Ahead of Schedule

Is this 2018?

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Apparently so. A quick check on my computer says it's December 19, 2018.

Yet, I expect to hear the typical moaning and groaning from detractors who say that this will never work. I expect the same tired arguments about snow, accidents insurance, etc. that will set this back 10 years if not forever. Stop!

Will there be kinks? Yes, of course.

However, the logistics of day-to-day deliveries in neighborhoods with traffic, pass codes, parking, dogs, and kids on roller skates poses far more complications than interstate trucking point-to-point where a real driver makes the final delivery.

This advance is ahead of my schedule.

OK, this is Phoenix. There is no snow. The routes are carefully mapped out.

But ... This is 2018. And there is not even an option for a driver.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

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