Autonomous grocery delivery service in Arizona launched by Kroger

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Today onward the residents of Scottsdale in Arizona would be able to receive autonomous grocery from Fry’s Food Stores delivered to them. Fry’s Food Stores is a brand owned by grocery giant Kroger. The technology powered by Nuro, a self-driving vehicle startup which was founded by two veterans of Google’s self-driving car project.

Kroger said that the customers can schedule same-day or next-day deliveries and would have a flat fee of $5.95 . For the start, the deliveries will be made by Nuro’s fleet of a modified Toyota Priuses which would carry a safety driver behind the wheel. But very soon Kroger would start using Nuro’s production model. This one does not even has a space for a driver.

Better known as the R1, this vehicle is comparatively much smaller and much lighter than a conventional passenger car. Nuro co-founder Dave Ferguson had said that the R1’s design had significant safety benefits. The vehicle is smaller and lighter. Even if hits into something, it won’t do much damage. Also, with a top speed of 25 miles/ hour, the vehicle is safe for other objects on the road.

The fact that the car is dramatically narrower than a traditional car, gives it a significant safety benefit said Ferguson

He said that because of the design of the car, there is an extra 3-4 foot of safety buffer in terms of width that they can dynamically position around the vehicle. He added that, for example there is a row of parked cars on one side of a Nuro vehicle. In this case, it can then hug the opposite side of its lane. This would give it more time to brake if a child darts out between two parked cars.

Kroger has been running grocery store chains across the country for a while now. It should be noted that Arizona has some of the nation’s most permissive laws when it comes to driverless vehicles.  This was one of the most probable reason of Kroger’s decision to launch its first delivery service there. However, if the program in Arizona is successful, it can be expected that the company would be starting the service in other parts of the country as well.

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