business news in context, analysis with attitude

Kroger yesterday announced an expanded collaboration with Nuro "with the introduction of Nuro's third-generation autonomous delivery vehicle," which it will use to grow its offerings in Houston, Texas.

The move, Kroger says, builds "on its commitment to anything, anytime, anywhere. Grocery delivery through autonomous vehicles is a leading-edge e-commerce solution that offers customer-focused convenience – regardless of basket size."

"Our expanded collaboration with Nuro supports Kroger's commitment to provide fresh food, at a great value – all without asking our customers to compromise," said Yael Cosset, Kroger's Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer. "The role of autonomous vehicles in our seamless ecosystem continues to increase, contributing to meeting our customers in the context of their day without compromising on the quality or value, while contributing to our long-term growth and sustainability goals."

Here is Nuro's announcement of the third-generation technology on YouTube:

KC'S View:

This is an example of how companies like Kroger are playing the cards they've been dealt - smartly, I think, as they collaborate with tech companies that can enable transformational visions …. and appear to be able to achieve necessary scale.

I must admit to one small thing that I notice about videos like the one posted by Nuro.  Whenever they show the autonomous vehicle traversing various neighborhoods, they are largely in bucolic settings - not a lot of traffic, well-kept roads, hardly even anybody parked along the curb.  I keep waiting for a video that shows an autonomous vehicle trying to make its way through the Bronx, dodging potholes, being harassed by cab drivers, avoiding jaywalking pedestrians, competing for space with FedEx, UPS and Amazon trucks, and generally trying to navigate the human morass that typifies big city traffic.

Here's an idea for such a video:  A speaker on top of the autonomous vehicle that shouts at others, "Hey, I'm driving here!  Get the &#@*% out of my way!"

(Actually, that sounds like a potential SNL bit…)