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Business & Economy

Kroger To Offer Grocery Delivery Via Drone

 A drone with a Kroger delivery.
Courtesy of Kroger
A drone with a Kroger delivery.

Kroger on Monday announced a partnership with New Jersey-based Drone Express to pilot grocery delivery via drones, part of what the Cincinnati company called "the evolution of our rapidly growing and innovative e-commerce business."

"The pilot reinforces the importance of flexibility and immediacy to customers, powered by modern and efficient last-mile solutions," Kroger's Group Vice President of Product Experience Jody Kalmbach said in a release. "We're excited to test drone delivery and gain insights that will inform expansion plans as well as customer solutions. 

The pilot begins later this spring.

WVXU previously reported on Drone Express's testing a unique kind of radar system in Springfield, Ohio, for beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS). The company, a division of TELEGRID, says it can deliver small packages using the autonomous drones it designs and manufactures in order to reduce the number of delivery trucks on the road and, consequently, the impact on the environment.

How The Pilot Works

In addition to delivery using a customer's street address, Drone Express technology allows package delivery to the location of a customer's smartphone. That means you could order up a delivery of picnic supplies to a park, for example. Kroger is currently designing such bundled product offerings that meet the weight limit of up to five pounds.

Soon, customers can place orders at Kroger.com/DroneDelivery and expect delivery in as little as 15 minutes. 

Test flights begin this week near the Kroger Marketplace in Centerville and will be managed by licensed drone pilots. 

Additional reporting by Ann Thompson.

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Business & Economy dronesKrogerDrone Express
Jennifer Merritt
Jennifer Merritt brings 15 years of "tra-digital" journalism experience to WVXU, having served in various digital roles for such legacy publications as InStyle and Parade, as well as start-ups like Levo League and iVillage. She helped these outlets earn several awards, including MIN's 2015 Digital Team of the Year. She graduated from Rutgers University with a journalism major and English minor and has continued her education with professional development classes through the Poynter Institute, Columbia University and PMJA. Before moving to Cincinnati from New York in 2016, she vowed her son would always call it "soda" and not "pop." She has so far been successful in this endeavor.