Kroger, Nuro Bring Autonomous Delivery Service to Houston
The Kroger Co. and robotics company Nuro have introduced their autonomous grocery-delivery service in Houston. The service will be available through two Houston Kroger stores, accessible to customers living in four local ZIP codes.
Since August 2018, Kroger and Nuro have run a pilot of the self-driving grocery delivery service in a single ZIP code in Scottsdale, Ariz. Late last year, the partnership grew to include Nuro's custom vehicle, R1, marking the United States’s first fully unmanned delivery service available to the public. Through the Scottsdale pilot, Kroger and Nuro have successfully and safely made thousands of deliveries.
“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 Mountain View, Calif.-based 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.”
“Our Arizona pilot program confirmed the flexibility and benefits provided by autonomous vehicles and how much customers are open to more innovative solutions,” noted Yael Cosset, chief digital officer at Cincinnati-based Kroger. “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.”
Beginning this spring, two Kroger stores, at 10306 South Post Oak Road, servicing ZIP codes 77401 and 77096, and at 5150 Buffalo Speedway, servicing 77005 and 77025, will offer the program. Customers will be able to place orders for delivery seven days a week, based on slot availability, shopping via Kroger.com or the Kroger app. Shoppers will be able to schedule their orders for same- or next-day delivery. The price will be a $5.95 flat fee, with no minimum order.
Shoppers across greater Houston will continue to have access to the grocery delivery service that Kroger currently provides. In common with Scottsdale, the autonomous-vehicle delivery service will launch with Nuro’s self-driving Toyota Prius fleet and roll out the next-generation custom driverless vehicle later this year. Scottsdale customers will continue to have access to grocery delivery via Kroger’s established service available through frysfood.com.
Kroger employs nearly half a million associates who serve customers through a seamless digital shopping experience and 2,779 retail food stores under a variety of banner names. The company is No. 2 on Progressive Grocer’s 2018 Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States.