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Picture this: you are at the park for a socially distant encounter when you realize you forgot to bring your food.
Normally, you might have to pack and run home or head to the grocery store, but with Kroger’s new schedule, you could have snacks delivered straight to you – by drone.
Kroger on Monday announced the launch of a pilot drone delivery program with Telegrid’s Drone Express in Centerville, Ohio, later this spring.
The program allows buyers to receive drone deliveries to their smartphone’s location, not just an address, the company said in a press release.
“The possibilities for customers are endless,” Beth Flippo, CTO of Telegrid, said in a statement. “We can allow Kroger’s customers to send chicken soup to a sick friend or get a quick delivery of olive oil if they run out while preparing dinner.”
The company will begin test flights this week, operated by licensed “FAA” Drone Express pilots from an on-site trailer at the Centerville Kroger Market.
Kroger is also working on developing batches of products that weigh below the limit of around 5 pounds for what drones can carry. For example, a baby care pack would contain wipes and formula, while a s’mores pack would contain graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate – all delivered at the same time.
Buyers will be able to place orders online and receive them in as little as 15 minutes.
Kroger said a second pilot is expected to start this summer at Ralphs in California.
Kroger joins Walmart in the drone delivery game. The big-box retailer has been testing the method since 2015 and recently announced it is testing Flytrex drones in North Carolina to deliver groceries and other household items, as well as Zipline drones in Arkansas, providing health and wellness products, according to the Verge.
Many hope drone delivery will reduce labor and fuel costs, generating higher profits for businesses, but privacy concerns, weather and insurance could hamper wider use, reported Bloomberg.
Amazon.com Inc.’s Prime Air, Alphabet’s Wing Inc., and United Parcel Service Inc. are the only drone delivery providers currently sanctioned by the Federal Aviation Administration, according to the outlet.
Drone Express is part of Beyond, an FAA program that seeks to connect businesses with state and local governments to develop drone delivery programs, Bloomberg reported.
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