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Grocery chain Kroger partners with Nuro for autonomous delivery

by Justin King

Nuro\'s small self-driving cargo vehicles will handle \"last mile\" delivery of fresh food.

Grocery store chain Kroger has announced a partnership with Nuro for an autonomous delivery pilot program.

Founded by a pair of former top engineers from Google's self-driving car project, Nuro is developing a small pod-shape vehicle geared for "last mile" delivery on low-speed streets. Its cargo compartments are insulated, helping keep food hot or cold.

Kroger views driverless vehicles as the potential "future of grocery delivery." Customers will be able to place same-day delivery orders via the company's ClickList ordering system and Nuro's mobile app.

The grocery chain includes 2,800 stores in 35 states. The pilot program will start with a single market this fall. The company will announce the target market soon.

"Our safe, reliable, and affordable service, combined with Kroger's ubiquitous brand, is a powerful first step in our mission to accelerate the benefits of robotics for everyday life," says Nuro co-founder Dave Ferguson.