The first test of the new drone delivery will begin this week near the Kroger Marketplace in Centerville, Ohio (just outside of Dayton). Actual customer deliveries are scheduled to begin later this spring with a second pilot launching this summer at a Ralphs in California.
But Kroger isn’t just planning on sending drones to your front yard. In the press announcement, the company indicated that it’s looking to get customers the last minute items they need, wherever that may be. So that could be picnic supplies to a park, or cold drinks at a hot beach. Kroger said that drone deliveries will be limited to a payload of around five pounds and deliveries of eligible orders should arrive within 15 minutes.
When we talk about drone food delivery, it’s usually centered around restaurants. Because drones can reach their destinations so quickly, they are shaping up to be a viable option for hot restaurant meal delivery. But we are starting to see drone delivery gain traction with grocery retailers. In Ireland, Manna has a partnership with Tesco, and here in the U.S., Walmart is working with Flytrex to test out drone deliveries in North Carolina and Rouses Market is using Deuce Drone to trial deliveries in Alabama.
It should also be noted that with this drone trial, Kroger continues to show its tech-forward thinking. So far this year, Kroger has opened the first of its robot-powered customer fulfillment centers, and started piloting more automated checkout via Caper’s smart shopping carts. Plus the fact that Kroger is launching two drone delivery pilots this year shows the company is being more aggressive about aerial delivery than its competitors (at least publicly).
If you are interested in the future of drones delivery, then you must come to ArticulATE, our food automation virtual summit happening on May 18. We’ll have a full panel devoted to drones featuring the CEO of Manna. Get your ticket today!