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Kroger is turning to autonomous cars to solve the last-mile problem for groceries

June 29, 2018

The largest supermarket chain in the US is partnering with robotic-vehicle startup Nuro to put food on your table.

The hardest mile: E-commerce giants have been looking for the best way to get packages to consumers’ doors for a while. But the so-called last-mile problem is even tougher for grocers, as food tends to be fragile and perishable.

Pretend I’m not here: Kroger is rolling out a test of autonomous last-mile delivery this fall. Human drivers will be in the front seat, but they won’t help you unload the groceries—the company wants to make its test as authentic as possible.

Why it matters: Kroger is leaning hard into its online ordering and delivery services. Last month it announced it was investing in the online grocer Ocado, and it plans to use some of Ocado’s automation tech in its warehouses. Meanwhile, its digital sales rose 66 percent in the last quarter.

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