Technology

Albertsons Cos. Pilots Remote-Controlled Delivery Cart

Retailer partners with Tortoise on Northern California test
Photograph courtesy of Albertsons

In effort to improve ease and convenience through new and disruptive technologies, Albertsons Cos. has partnered with Tortoise, an automated logistics company focused on last-mile solutions, to pilot its remote-controlled zero-emission delivery cart in Northern California, the retailer announced March 5.

The Safeway cart, powered by Mountain View, Calif.-based Tortoise, is equipped with a camera and a speaker and is guided through the neighborhood by a remote operator. The cart can hold up to 120 pounds of groceries in four lockable containers for a contactless delivery experience.

The service is open for testing with Safeway associates in select Northern California neighborhoods. During these early stages and as part of the pilot process, the cart will be accompanied by a human.

When the cart arrives at a home, the customer receives a text to come outside and pick up their groceries. The carts travel at an average speed of 3 mph and are powered 100% by an electric battery.

“Our team is obsessed with trying new and disruptive technologies that can bring more convenience for our customers,” said Chris Rupp, EVP and chief customer and digital officer, in a release. “We are willing to quickly test, learn and implement winning innovations that ensure we are offering the easiest and most convenient shopping experience in the entire industry.”

Other efforts Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons has made recently to make the shopping experience more convenient includes a pilot of pickup lockers and an automated pickup kiosk at select Jewel-Osco locations in Chicago. The company already offers delivery and Drive Up & Go options through its websites and apps. Albertsons is also expanding its relationships with third-party operators to provide delivery options in as fast as two hours.

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