It's no big secret that artificial intelligence (A.I.) and driverless vehicle technology is going to drastically alter the automotive world and how your dealership does business. However, with the announcement of a new partnership between Kroger and Nuro, a self-driving startup founded by a couple of ex-Googlers, we have yet another prime example regarding exactly how this emergent tech could alter virtually every facet of modern life - both in the automotive world and outside of it.
So just what does the country's largest supermarket chain have in mind when it comes to implementing self-driving tech from Nuro? As Andrew J. Hawkins of The Verge reports, these two organizations have come together to upgrade Kroger's current grocery delivery service via the implementation of Nuro's driverless "R1" prototypes. Currently, this fledgling partnership is still in the process of collecting data and analyzing vehicle performance, but the eventual goal is to launch fleets of self-driving vehicles across the country to deliver groceries to the doorsteps of Kroger's substantial consumer following.
While the name is just a placeholder now, these "toasters on wheels" are poised to dramatically impact Kroger's business model. Specifically, with over nine million daily visitors to the company's 2,800 stores across 35 states, Nuro has the opportunity to integrate its technology into the largest swath of grocery market share - and ensure that the average Kroger customer will one day never have to step foot into an actual brick-and-mortar store again.
Going a bit deeper, when paired up with the realities of other shifting industries and the advent of mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) ventures, incentivizing customers to stay home and allow the retail experience to come to them offers yet another example of how the need to own a vehicle could be moving swiftly from a concrete pillar of the average person's life to completely unnecessary.
Want to learn more about how Nuro emerged as a dark horse competitor from a crowded field of driverless tech suitors to land this deal with Kroger? How about a deeper look into the development of this technology and its potential to serve as yet another harbinger of not only changing industries, but shifting modern lifestyles? Then be sure to dig into the full story from Hawkins by clicking on the link offered up below.