Kroger Starts Driverless Delivery

Kroger offers truly driverless deliveries. The vehicles do not even have a driver seat.

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?

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

Comments (20)
No. 1-10
douglascarey
douglascarey

Testing is way, way different than reality. Government and law suits will get in the way. Real driverless cars on real roads en masse is 15 to 25 years away. Book it.

2banana
2banana

Like in ultra-safe neighborhoods where they won't be looted?

+++++

"The routes are carefully mapped out."

JonSellers
JonSellers

Yes, Mish wins one. Question is: is this for real or for show? Is the cost of the vehicle + maintenance over time less than the per delivery fee?

Schaap60
Schaap60

It looks like real cars on real roads are already here. The only question is the rate of adoption. Since "en masse" and "mass adoption" are largely subjective and can be defined many ways, my guess is still that everyone will be "right." Haven't we had this discussion?

If mass adoption means more than half of vehicles on the road, I can certainly see 10 to 20 years just to turnover the current fleet of cars and trucks. If mass adoption means number of miles traveled, that may happen much sooner if long distance shipping adopts the technology for the cost savings. In addition, local deliveries like the one described in the post may significantly reduce the number of miles driven privately and thereby increase the "adoption rate" if it is defined by relative miles driven.

gregggg
gregggg

One would have to go to the store and select perishables first... The stuff at supermarkets in city/suburb areas is generally dumpster quality compared to what my wife buys. I wonder what a return/replace policy would be? Another $5.75? Sounds like huge hassles unless you buy processed food.

KidHorn
KidHorn

In order for driverless vehicles to be adopted in mass, 5G wireless networks will have to be rolled out. It's been done in a few locations, but there is a lot of resistance in many areas. People fear being blasted with high frequency microwaves and no one wants a microwave transmitter near their home. For good reason.

RonJ
RonJ

"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."

That is nuro-logical.

Stuki
Stuki

I can't imagine anyone doubting getting a driver less vehicle to drive somewhere is possible. Pick your spots carefully enough, and a skateboard rolling down a hill with a grocery bag placed atop it, is a "driverless delivery vehicle."

"As good as, or better than a human," under any possible condition is an entirely different matter. Doubly so since traffic is a competitive environment: One in which resources are limited but demand for clear space, speed, spots in line etc. essentially limitless. Which ensures actors compete for said resources.

As long as driverless cars are just cute, massively hyped, curiosities, humans may leave them alone. But once, or if, they become common enough to be just another group of left-lane-hogger-like nuisances, that grace period is over. And it's man vs machine. Where Machine is programmed to save Man at all cost. While Man is free to treat Machine as just another piece of the expendable rubble it really is. Man will win that one every time. Relegating Machine to second class status, in any environment where the two coexists. Which will, no matter naive original intentions, over time separate the spheres in which each operate.

And there, in their own sphere, freed from annoying humans insisting on bullying them around and playing Mario Carts with them, is where the Machines will find there niches. Where they can easily outperform any comparatively sensory deprived, cooperation averse and incompetent human. Which us why focusing on creating and facilitating building of such spheres, is just as, more even, essential than the vehicles that can then inhabit them.

Guinny_Ire
Guinny_Ire

I'm really looking forward to the excess traffic this will create. Not only can you run errands that matter to you but also employ another vehicle to run errands for you. This will be a CF.