Autonomous mobility has come to stay. Last December, a supermarket chain began its autonomous vehicles to deliver orders to its customers in a vehicle that nobody was driving. Although for the time being service is limited to a radius of 1.6 kilometers away from an Arizona supermarket owned by Kroger Co., the event represents the latest step for industries trying to reduce their delivery costs on fresh produce.
But the launch also highlighted the many challenges that autonomous vehicles still face. One of the compact vehicles did not have the performance planned during the press demonstration due to a battery failure, so several men had to push it down the ramp of a truck to take it to repair.
Kroger and Nuro, based in Mountain View, Calif., Announced they would make deliveries to the Scottsdale area using an autonomous vehicle named R1, which does not have a steering wheel or passenger seats. Nuro will add two driverless R1 units to its fleet of autonomous vehicles, said Dave Ferguson, president and co-founder of Nuro.
When required, the R1 will travel within a 1.6 kilometer radius of the Fry’s Food store located just east of the Phoenix Zoo, at a speed of up to 40 km / h (25 mph) in residential areas, but will not circulate by main avenues or highways, according to Pam Giannonatti, director of corporate affairs for the Fry’s division of Kroger, based in Cincinnati.
Customers place an order through their phone or computer and receive a text message when the food goes on the way. A new message will notify them once the order is in front of the sidewalk. Once the vehicle arrives, customers will receive a code to open the doors, said Giannonatti. For now, consumers will pay a fee of $ 5.95 for service.