This week, Kroger and Drone Express announced a pilot program offering grocery delivery by autonomous drones.
Jody Kalmbach, Vice President of Product Experience, said, “Kroger’s new drone delivery pilot is part of the evolution of our rapidly growing and innovative e-commerce business which includes pickup, delivery, and ship and reached more than $10 billion in sales in 2020. The pilot reinforces the importance of flexibility and immediacy to customers, powered by modern, cost-effective, and efficient last-mile solutions. We’re excited to test drone delivery and gain insights that will inform expansion plans as well as future customer solutions.”
So how will it work? Well, Kroger customers will have great flexibility on where their grocery order can be delivered. While many of us have scheduled a grocery delivery to our homes, this drone program will allow customers to choose delivery to a park, a beach, or any location where their smartphone is located. Using the Kroger.com/DroneDelivery site, customers can have their groceries as soon as 15 minutes from when the request is made.
Drone Express will conduct these test flights near the Kroger Marketplace in Centerville, Ohio. The flights will be carried out by licensed Drone Express pilots from an on-site trailer, with additional off-site monitoring. A second pilot program through Drone Express is set to launch this summer at a Ralphs grocery store in California.
Autonomous drones have the potential to improve everyday life, and the technology can provide safe and environmentally-friendly deliveries. It is only a matter of time before drone delivery is as commonplace as the smartphones we hold in our hands.