Kroger testing drone deliveries

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Supermarket chain Kroger announced Monday that it will begin to test delivering groceries to some customers via drones.

Kroger and Drone Express, a division of TELEGRID Technologies Inc., are partnering to launch a pilot program that will offer grocery delivery via autonomous drones, which the companies said will provide customers with “anything, anytime, anywhere,” according to a press release.

Drone Express will begin test flights this week near the Kroger Marketplace in Centerville, Ohio. Customer deliveries are set to launch later this spring.

The companies said they plan to to kick off a second pilot this summer in California.

Kroger said it is preparing an array of “bundled product offerings” that are “ideal for meeting customer needs” within the weight limits for drone delivery, which is around five pounds.

The supermarket chain said it will offer a baby care bundle with wipes and formula, a child wellness bundle with over-the-counter medicine and fluids and a s’mores bundle with ingredients to make the snack.

Customers, the companies said, will be able to place orders online, which will be delivered in as little as 15 minutes.

“Autonomous drones have unlimited potential to improve everyday life, and our technology opens the way to safe, secure, environmentally friendly deliveries for Kroger customers,” TELEGRID’s Chief Technology Officer Beth Flippo said in the statement.

“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,” she added.

Kroger’s announcement comes months after Walmart unveiled its pilot project in September, to test the delivery of some products from its stores using automated drones.

Walmart launched its pilot in Fayetteville, N.C., where it tested the delivery of a select number of grocery and household essential items.

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