Kroger, one of the largest grocery chains in America, is beginning testing a drone delivery service near Dayton, Ohio. Starting this week, Kroger will begin testing deliveries near the company̵
“Customer deliveries are due to begin later this spring, and a co-pilot is scheduled to launch this summer at a Ralphs store in California,” Kroger said in a statement.
The Federal Aviation Administration has allowed the commercial use of drones for several years. But until recently, regulations required drones to be in the operator’s field of vision. It wasn’t a big deal for aerial photography, but it made drones useless for retail.
It was not until the last year that the FAA began approving the commercial use of unmanned aerial vehicles that fly out of sight of the operator.
The drones will be provided by Drone Express, a division of Telegrid Technologies. “The flights will be operated by licensed Drone Express pilots from a trailer on site with additional off-site surveillance,” Kroger said in a statement.
The drone is able to lift only about 2 kilograms of cargo, which limits the types of goods that customers can order. Kroger says it will offer special packages of useful products that fit the weight range – such as a “baby care package with wipes and formula” or a “s’mores package with graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate”.
Kroger says deliveries can only be made in 15 minutes.
Interestingly, the delivery location does not have to be a postal address – it can be any set of GPS coordinates. So, if you’re having a picnic in the park, you can take out your smartphone and the drone will deliver the missing spice right next to your picnic blanket.