HOUSTON – Two Kroger locations in Houston will soon debut a driverless car to deliver groceries right to your home.
The new autonomous fleet will begin making deliveries in the first week of April at the South Post Oak Road and Buffalo Speedway Kroger locations.
The service will be available to those living in the 77401, 77096, 77005 and 77025 area codes.
Since August 2018, Kroger and Nuro have operated these cars in Arizona as part of their pilot program. Houston would only be the second location to utilize the service.
You may have already seen their Prius prototypes in Meyerland, but developers say this is just the beginning. After a few weeks of testing, they intend to switch to their all-electric R1 vehicle.
With a top speed of 25 mph, it’s by no means the fastest option around, but developers say that was never their intention.
By eliminating at least one trip from your day, you have more time to do the things you want to do.
As a customer is shopping online or through the app, they simply select “delivery” instead of “pickup.” If they’re within the right area codes, they schedule for same-day or next-day delivery. The flat fee of $5.95 is competitive with other similar services, with no minimum order.
The question remains, however, are shoppers ready for yet another innovation in the way they get their groceries?
We spoke to customers outside the Buffalo Speedway location who say they’re not sure driverless is the solution.
“I think since there are services now that can bring groceries to your door without them. I would much prefer that,” said Cynthia Johnson of Houston.
Ask around, and concerns always seem to point back to traffic and how you navigate around a car that can’t respond to you.
Nuro developers say while the cars may be driverless, there will be dispatchers watching each trip remotely from an office in Houston.
For being the first-of-its kind in the city, shoppers expect growing pains, but admit this could be a glimpse into the future today.
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