Kroger, the country’s largest grocery chain, says it will begin testing drone delivery this week at a store in Ohio.
In a press release on Monday, Kroger said the new feature will allow customers to place orders with their smartphones and have it delivered directly to them "within as little as 15 minutes."
According to the press release, the drones will track a customer to their smartphone location, meaning that once the grocery chain scales up the program, it will be able to deliver items anywhere within drone travel distance of a store.
“…a customer will be able to order delivery of picnic supplies to a park, sunscreen to the beach, or condiments to a backyard cookout, for instance,” Kroger’s press release read.
Kroger says it will begin testing drone deliveries at a store in Centerville, Ohio this week, a suburb of Dayton.
"The launch of the pilot in Centerville is the culmination of months of meticulous research and development by Kroger and Drone Express to better serve and meet the needs of our customers," said Ethan Grob, Kroger's director of last mile strategy and product. "We look forward to progressing from test flights to customer deliveries this spring, introducing one more way for our customers to experience Kroger."
The Kroger drone testing is being conducted in partnership with Drone Express, a division of TELEGRID Technologies.
Kroger is just the latest retailer to experiment with drone delivery. In 2016, Amazon introduced its drone delivery system, Prime Air. While its drone fleet has met FAA approval, the service is still in testing phases. UPS is also testing drone deliveries.