The maiden voyage of autonomous vehicles engaged to deliver online grocery orders for The Kroger Co. later this year will evidently take place around Phoenix, where the retailer's Fry’s division is based.
The timing of the pilot comes amid job postings from Nuro, the Silicon Valley-based robotics firm that announced a partnership with Cincinnati-based Kroger earlier this year. Those firms said in June that a pilot test of the technology would take place later this year at some Kroger-owned stores, but neither company identified where those tests would take place.
However, recently posted online job descriptions for Nuro would appear to indicate Phoenix to be the first market. The company was recently seeking to hire a city manager in Phoenix “to develop and oversee day-to-day operations of one of our first major delivery services." The candidate "will be Nuro’s go-to leader on the ground as we launch new partnerships and will help take our delivery service from zero to one in the first city with our first partners.”
Nuro previously identified Kroger as its first delivery partner. The test will explore the potential of using alternative means of delivery to attack costs inherent in the “last mile.”
Kroger operates 123 Fry’s stores in Arizona.