Grocery retailer Kroger has partnered with Drone Express, a division of Telegrid Technologies, to pilot deliveries using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
During the trial, the partnership will offer customers in the U.S. package delivery to the location of a customer’s smartphone. The collaboration said this enables delivery not only to a street address, but to the customer, meaning they are able to order delivery of picnic supplies to a park, sunscreen to the beach, or condiments to a backyard BBQ.
“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,” said Kroger’s Jody Kalmbach, group vice president of product experience.
“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.”
Kroger said it is designing bundled product offerings ideal for meeting customer needs within the current weight limits for drone delivery, which is about 5lb. Customers can place orders and have eligible orders delivered within 15 minutes.
“Autonomous drones have unlimited potential to improve everyday life, and our technology opens the way to safe, secure, environmentally friendly deliveries for Kroger customers,” said Beth Flippo, chief technology officer at Telegrid.
“The possibilities for customers are endless – we can enable Kroger customers to send chicken soup to a sick friend or get fast delivery of olive oil if they run out while cooking dinner.”
Test flights will see the UAVs managed by licensed Drone Express pilots from an on-site trailer with additional off-site monitoring.