Florida is becoming a hotbed for grocery robots as Kroger announced yesterday that it has selected Groveland, Fla. as the location for its second automated warehouse using Ocado’s technology.
These smart warehouses use a series of crate robots on rails that zip around assembling items to speed up the fulfillment of grocery orders. Kroger has plans to build out 20 such robot warehouses, with the first being built in Monroe, OH, just outside Kroger’s hometown of Cincinnati. In addition to Monroe and Groveland, Kroger has announced a third automated warehouse will be built somewhere in the Mid-Atlantic region.
But Groveland isn’t the only place in Florida where groceries are going robotic. Further south, down in Miami, Takeoff launched its first robotic grocery fulfillment center for the Sedano’s supermarket chain last year. Sedano’s has locations in Orlando, and should the Takeoff partnership expand, it would set up a bit of a grocery robot battle royale, as Groveland is only 45 minutes away from Orlando.
Automated warehouses are just one part of a big investment Kroger is making in logistics and fulfillment. The Cincinnati shed alone is costing the grocery giant $55 million to build, and as noted earlier, Kroger has plans for 20 of them. Additionally, Kroger has been testing self-driving delivery vehicles in Scottsdale, AZ and recently expanded those tests to Houston, TX.
It’s not hard to connect the dots between a Kroger robot fulfillment center packing your grocery orders and loading them into a Kroger autonomous vehicle that brings them to your door. That’s still a ways off, but Kroger is laying the groundwork for it all right now.
Automation throughout the grocery chain is something we’ll be discussing at our upcoming ArticulATE food robot summit in San Francisco on April 16th. We’ll have speakers from Albertsons, Robomart and more talking about all the big issues around robots at grocery retail and how they will transform the shopping experience. Tickets are limited, get yours today!