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Driverless grocery delivery program begins at one Phoenix-area Fry’s

(Kroger Photo)

PHOENIX – A major chain’s pilot program for driverless grocery delivery has debuted in the Valley.

The testing began Thursday at the Fry’s at 7770 E. McDowell Road in Scottsdale, west of Hayden Road.

The program is a partnership between Kroger, which is Fry’s parent company and the nation’s largest grocery chain, and Nuro, which developed the vehicles.

Customers within the delivery area can place their same-day or next-day orders through the Fry’s website or mobile app. The website says the 85257 ZIP code can use the service.

There’s a $5.95 flat fee per delivery, with no minimum order.

Completed orders will be delivered by Nuro’s autonomous vehicles for curbside pickup.

The program is starting with an autonomous Toyota Prius fleet, and Nuro will introduce its custom self-driving vehicles in the fall, according to a Kroger news release.

“We’re proud to contribute and turn our vision for local commerce into a real, accessible service that residents of Scottsdale can use immediately,” Nuro co-founder Dave Ferguson said in the release.

“Our goal is to save people time, while operating safely and learning how we can further improve the experience.”

Kroger announced in June it would be starting the grocery delivery program but did not specify a time or location.

The company already offered delivery in vehicles driven by people at about 1,200 of its 2,800 stores, covering about 20 markets in the U.S.

Nuro was started two years ago by two engineers who had been working on the Google self-driving car project now known as Waymo.

Waymo, which has a large presence in the Phoenix area, has said it would be starting a self-driving taxi service in the Valley sometime this year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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