After testing an autonomous delivery system since August with human supervision, US supermarket chain Kroger is officially employing completely driverless vehicles to transport groceries. In August, Kroger began testing an autonomous delivery service consisting of self-driving Toyota Prii. Each vehicle was accompanied by a passive driver who could oversee the safety of transportation. Since then, nearly 1,000 deliveries have been made to the general public, a success that has driven Kroger to expand their fleet.
Earlier in the week, the company announced that Nuro vehicles, a startup whose first mission is to develop a self-driving vehicle designed to transport local goods, will be officially joining the autonomous fleets on the streets. The Nuro R1 vehicle is truly autonomous -- it is designed to have no need for a human back-up.
This little pod, which has been in development since 2016, can travel sans driver on public roads and transports only groceries. Orders can be placed online or via Kroger's dedicated application where you can choose same-day or next-day delivery. Either a self-driving Prius or R1 will transport the goods.
Arizona has been the ideal place to test this type of tech thanks to the state's openness towards driverless vehicles -- the state even created the Institute for Automated Mobility, an institution dedicated to autonomous tech research. Intel, GM, and Uber have all been testing their own renditions of self-driving vehicles in the state. With companies like Kroger demonstrating the practicality of such vehicles, we're sure to see humanless good transportation expand across the country over the next year.