How some Arizona residents can now have an autonomous car deliver their groceries | Innovation

Kroger and Nuro are testing out a self-driving grocery delivery service in Scottsdale, , according to a Kroger press release. This pilot program launched at a single Fry's Food Stores on Thursday.

Customers can place orders at the Fry's Food Stores' website or mobile app and schedule deliveries for same-day or next-day. For a flat fee of $5.95, “customers will receive their at their curb – safely and quickly,” according to the press release.

Earlier this year, Kroger announced its partnership with Nuro, the robotics company providing the autonomous delivery vehicles. Designed specifically for the transportation of goods, customers are given an access code to open the vehicle's doors once it arrives at their home, according to Kroger's initial announcement.

SEE: IT leader's guide to the future of autonomous vehicles (Tech Pro Research)

Nuro will begin the pilot program with a self-driving Toyota Prius fleet, with the R1 driverless vehicles joining this fall, according to the release. The autonomous Toyota Prius vehicles will have seats for humans, who are able to override the self-driving system if there is an emergency, reported Reuters.

“We're excited to launch our autonomous vehicle delivery pilot with Fry's in Scottsdale,” said Kroger Chief Digital Officer Yael Cosset in the press release. “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.”

Kroger joins competitor Walmart in the driverless grocery service effort. In July, Waymo and Walmart announced their trial grocery pickup service, which debuted in Phoenix, AZ. Arizona is a hub for the self-driving automobile because it supports the movement toward driverless testing and development with advantageous regulations, and it has warmer weather with a lower population.

With a lot of controversy surrounding the safety of driverless cars, you have to live in the same Scottsdale 85257 ZIP code in order to receive groceries through the Kroger and Nuro program. As of right now, the driverless cars can't zoom all over town to get you your almond milk, unfortunately.

Pilot programs like the ones being pursued by Kroger and Walmart showcase how self-driving vehicles will intersect with, and disrupt, many of the industries that support our most mundane habits. And, as Cosset mentioned, they could go a long way to helping increase the acceptance of such technology among consumers.

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • Kroger and Nuro are testing a pilot program of their driverless grocery delivery vehicles in Scottsdale, Arizona.
  • The vehicles will begin with a fleet of Nuro-operated, driverless Toyota Prius cars and shift to the specialized Nuro R1 vehicles later this year.

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Image: Kroger/Nuro

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