Grocery firm Kroger launches autonomous deliveries in Houston

Key Points
  • Autonomous technology is transforming the way that companies deliver goods and services to consumers.
  • Kroger's new service in Houston follows on from the introduction of a self-driving delivery scheme in Scottsdale, Arizona.
  • It will initially operate out of a store in South Post Oak, with Kroger's Buffalo Speedway store offering it soon after.
Nuro

Grocery giant Kroger has partnered with robotics firm Nuro to launch an autonomous delivery service in Houston, Texas.

In an announcement Wednesday, Kroger said that the service would represent the first public use of Nuro's self-driving vehicles in Houston.

The scheme will initially operate out of a store in South Post Oak, with Kroger's Buffalo Speedway store offering it soon after.

It will start off by using a fleet of manual and self-driving Toyota Prius cars, with the next generation of Nuro's driverless vehicle introduced later on in the year.

The service in Houston mirrors the introduction of a self-driving delivery scheme in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Launched in August 2018, it started off with an autonomous fleet of Prius vehicles that were manned by vehicle operators. In December 2018, the pilot began using Nuro's R1, an unmanned vehicle that operates on public roads.

"Nuro's initial application of transporting goods through self-driving technology has allowed us to build a real service and have immediate impact on communities," Dave Ferguson, the co-founder of Nuro, said in a statement Wednesday.

"We are excited to introduce Houston to our time-saving service that provides customers with their groceries quickly and safely," Ferguson added.

Autonomous technology is transforming the way that companies deliver goods and services to consumers.

Earlier this month, for example, Starship Technologies – which specializes in autonomous delivery services – announced it had made 50,000 commercial deliveries with its technology. The firm's robots can make deliveries within a four-mile radius, and carry goods including parcels, groceries and food.

Follow CNBC International on Twitter and Facebook.