(WXYZ) — Kroger announced Monday it plans to offer grocery delivery with autonomous drones later this year in the Midwest.
The company partnered with Drone Express for the pilot program, which will delivery groceries to the location of a customer's smartphone, not just an address. That means people can have delivery of picnic supplies to a park, sunscreen to a beach and more.
"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."
Customers will be able to place orders and have eligible ones delivered in as quickly as 15 minutes.
There will also be bundled product offerings, like baby care bundles with wipes and formula, a child-wellness bundle with over-the-counter meds and fluids, and a S'mores bundle with graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate.
"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, 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 begin this week in Ohio. The flights will be managed by licensed Drone Express pilots from an off-site trailer. Customer deliveries are scheduled to begin later this spring.