SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — At a time when big-box retailers are attempting to supply the identical conveniences as their on-line rivals, the largest U.S. grocery chain is testing using driverless cars to ship groceries in a Phoenix suburb.
Kroger’s pilot program launched Thursday morning with a robotic automobile parked exterior one in all its personal Fry’s supermarkets in Scottsdale. A retailer clerk loaded the again seat with full grocery luggage. A person was within the driver’s seat and one other was within the entrance passenger seat with a laptop computer. Both had been there to observe the automobile’s efficiency.
Under the self-driving service, consumers can order same-day or next-day supply on-line or on a cellular app for a flat fee of about $6. After the order is positioned, a driverless automobile will ship the groceries curbside, requiring clients to be current to fetch them. The automobiles will most likely be opened with a numeric code.
Currently, Kroger is working with Toyota Prius automobiles. During the following section of testing within the fall, deliveries might be made by a totally autonomous automobile with no human aboard.
Cincinnati-based Kroger Co., is partnering with Nuro, a Silicon Valley startup based by two engineers who labored on autonomous automobiles at Google.
“Our goal is to save people time, while operating safely and learning how we can further improve the experience,” Nuro co-founder Dave Ferguson stated in an announcement.
The Google autonomous automobile challenge is known as Waymo, which began the same pilot program final month at Walmart shops in Phoenix. In that case, self-driving automobiles transport clients to and from their chosen Walmart location to choose up on-line grocery orders.
That is just not the one enterprise Waymo has in metropolitan Phoenix. Waymo has been making an attempt out a service the place bus and lightweight rail riders can order an autonomous automobile to their nearest transit cease. Employees with Valley Metro, the company that manages Phoenix-area transit strains, are at present serving as check riders. The challenge, began earlier this month, has Waymo workers gathering knowledge from check drives, the company stated.
Arizona continues to be a testing floor for self-driving know-how, regardless of a deadly crash involving an autonomous automobile earlier this yr.
A self-driving Uber SUV struck and killed a girl in March within the Phoenix suburb of Tempe. The 49-year-old was crossing a darkened street exterior of a crosswalk. But a National Transportation and Safety Board investigation confirmed the backup driver had been streaming a tv present for greater than 40 minutes earlier than the accident, whereas the automobile was in autonomous mode.
Uber later ended the testing of self-driving cars in Arizona. But the corporate has since relaunched its autonomous automobiles in Pittsburgh.
Associated Press photographer Ross D. Franklin contributed to this report.