The newest part of the airborne delivery revolution seems to be taking place at an unusual location, and in a sort of strange, selective way.
Today’s tech news shows that Kroger is rivaling other retailers like Walmart and Amazon in setting up a drone pilot program (this one’s called Drone Express) with partner Telegrid Technologies to airlift certain kinds of products like over-the-counter medications, baby stuff and picnic supplies by FAA-certified drones.
The Kroger website for the program says that the pilot will be taking place at “a store in its Cincinnati/Dayton Division;” reporter Thomas Ricker at The Verge specifies a Centerville, Ohio location will be the start of this new type of delivery.
Telegrid resources show the company has achieved UAS airworthiness criteria approval from the FAA.
“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, Telegrid Chief Technology Officer, in a press 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.”
“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,” adds Kroger VP Jody Kalmbach. “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.”
Kroger is not alone in pioneering drone deliveries – package delivery companies like UPS and DHL have launched their own research into delivering packages via unmanned aerial vehicles.
Many of us, though, are still unaccustomed to getting a package from a flying robot. That could soon change.
“Kroger and Drone Express made a great choice in piloting this program in Centerville – a community with a robust business network focused on progress and stability near the birthplace of aviation,” says Centerville Mayor Brooks Compton in a public statement. “Families here have the power to transform grocery delivery around the nation and the globe. We look forward to placing our first order.”