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Kroger, Nuro Team for Unmanned Delivery Service

December 18, 2018

Nuro and Kroger launched the first-ever unmanned delivery service available to the general public.

Since August, the companies have operated a self-driving grocery delivery service in Scottsdale, AZ with an autonomous Prius fleet accompanied by vehicle operators. The autonomous vehicles have completed nearly one thousand deliveries to the general public.

With today's launch, the fleet is expanding to include Nuro's custom unmanned vehicle known as the R1. The R1 travels on public roads and has no driver, no passengers and only transports goods. Nuro has been developing the R1 since 2016, and announced its partnership with Kroger, America's largest supermarket retailer, in June.

"Nuro envisions a world without errands, where everything is on-demand and can be delivered affordably. Operating a delivery service using our custom unmanned vehicles is an important first step toward that goal," explained Nuro President and co-founder Dave Ferguson.

"Kroger customers are looking for new, convenient ways to feed their families and purchase the products they need quickly through services like pickup and delivery," said Yael Cosset, Kroger's chief digital officer. "Our autonomous delivery pilot with Nuro over the past few months continues to prove the benefit of the flexible and reliable technology. Through this exciting and innovative partnership, we are delivering a great customer experience and advancing Kroger's commitment to redefine the grocery experience by creating an ecosystem that offers our customers anything, anytime, and anywhere."

Kroger experienced 60 percent digital sales growth in the third quarter, and its seamless coverage area now reaches more than 90 percent of customer households.

Delivery service details:

Where: Fry's Food Stores (single location): 7770 East McDowell Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85257

When: Customers can place delivery orders immediately, for delivery 7 days a week

How: Customers shop via frysfood.com or the Fry's Food Stores mobile app and place their order based on slot availability

What: Grocery orders can be scheduled for same-day or next-day delivery by Nuro's fleet of self-driving vehicles, now featuring the custom unmanned R1 as well as self-driving Prius vehicles

Price: $5.95 flat fee; no minimum order

In related news, Inmar and Kroger formed a new strategic relationship to drive innovation in digital offer management.

The relationship includes the sale to Inmar of You Technology, a digital coupon and digital rebate publishing unit owned by Kroger, in conjunction with a long-term services agreement with Inmar for the continued delivery of digital offer management services to Kroger.

"As part of our strategic relationship, the combination of Kroger's unique assets and personalization expertise and Inmar's technology solutions now with YouTech will drive more innovation and value for Kroger customers and CPG partners," said Yael Cosset, Kroger's chief digital officer. "This services agreement supports Restock Kroger, namely the partner for customer value and redefine the grocery customer experience drivers. By joining together with Inmar, YouTech will have the opportunity to expand both its retailer relationships outside of Kroger and its portfolio of capabilities. We'd like to thank the talented team of YouTech associates for building a successful business and look forward to working with both Inmar and YouTech closely to ensure a smooth transition."

South San Francisco-based YouTech was founded in 2007 and acquired by Kroger in 2014. Its cloud-based digital offer platform enables digital offers for redemption at Kroger and retailers in the US. In combining YouTech's online engagement capabilities with Inmar's expertise in managing open platforms, this transaction will improve accessibility and expand coupon and rebate distribution for CPGs, helping retailers of all sizes compete and deliver on today's consumers' evolving expectations.

"We are thrilled for YouTech to join Inmar, enhancing our already exceptional ability to help retailers drive loyalty and growth through better digital content," said David Mounts, Chairman and CEO of Inmar. "Following the acquisition, Inmar looks forward to working closely with Kroger and 84.51⁰ to bring high quality digital offers to Kroger customers. The acquisition of YouTech will also broaden our distribution network and enhance Inmar's capabilities as a trusted, independent intermediary, allowing us to better serve the evolving needs of both CPGs and all of our retail partners."

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