Boise-based Albertsons Companies started sending robots onto the streets around a few of its stores recently. It’s the latest in a series of ideas to add more tech. to the long-standing grocery chain’s services.
Albertsons launched a trial at two of its Safeway stores in Northern California that allows shoppers to get groceries delivered in a special remote-controlled cart, if they live up to three miles from a store.
Once the cart arrives, a customer will get a text message and the cart will unlock, which will allow the non-shopping shopper to unload groceries into their home.
The pilot uses technology from a California tech. company called Tortoise. Shoppers go online, pick out groceries, pay a fee – then workers will load up the cart and send it out to the streets. A remote worker will guide and steer the device using cameras and sensors.
For now, a Safeway worker will accompany the carts as they roll along the streets – at the blistering pace of just 3 MPH. The cart uses a rechargeable electric battery.