What would it be like if our supermarket orders are delivered by a van robot directly to our home? Get ready for a giant armored toaster on wheels with a handle atop, roaming about, soon.
Nuro, a startup company founded by two ex-Google engineers, has invented the new mode of last-mile logistics which will be tested for delivery from Kruger’s stores in the coming weeks in a limited area, to begin.
To get the ball rolling from scratch, Nuro conjured up $92 million from a Series A round of funding. With that, six unmanned EVs (electric vehicles) are due later in the year to transport ordered goods from Kroger to customer homes quickly, safely and conveniently with zero carbon footprint.
On the robotics front, the partnership has leaped Kruger one step ahead of Amazon that recently took over Whole Foods to become the favorite for the groceries race. Nuro’s, on the other hand, is a low-speed unmanned vehicle that moves along slowly and securely. Powered by only half the battery of the typical passenger car, along with feasible transport conditions in urban areas, enable significantly lower production costs and less complex sensor systems, as oppose to passenger vehicles that come with a host of regulatory requirements.
For the experiment, a city will be selected to test the system through Kroger’s ClickList online shopping option where orders will be delivered by Nuro’s giant self-propelling vessel the same day. Upon arrival, container doors are accessible via direct coordination through an app.
In addition, Kruger also have several other investment plans related to online shopping, namely a joint venture with Home Chef, a company that provides meal kit subscription services to customers to deliver pre-portioned food ingredients and recipes for preparing home cooked meals. Another head-turning partnership is with Ocado Supermarket, a top global online supermarket chain from UK. The partnership with Kroger will expand the unique automated model across the US.
Kruger expects to further enhance its customer service experience from this model, as well, where development is expected to begin in October of this year and will take years to cover massive territories of America. How things actually turn out remains to be seen. Such partnerships, however, ie., with Home Chef and Ocado, are expected to increase Kruger’s online sales by 66%.
Compiled by BLOG.SCGLogistics
References and photos: forbes.com, foodlogistics.com