Today’s Pickup: Testing for driverless grocery delivery vehicles to begin this year

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Good day,

Kroger has plans to introduce driverless vehicles to the grocery industry this year, according to a Wall Street Journal article. The U.S. grocery giant announced a partnership with electric vehicle startup Nutro Inc. this week.

Both companies said driverless grocery delivery could make the roll-out of delivery services quicker in less populated areas of the country, on top of making the whole process easier for everyone. They also acknowledged that the introduction of driverless grocery delivery for consumers is likely years away.

“We are not trying to be a dollar cheaper than regular delivery. We are trying to be an order of magnitude cheaper,” Nutro co-founder Dave Ferguson said.

Digital grocery orders account for about 2 percent of the $800 billion U.S. food retail market, according to industry analysts.

“Technology is massively critical to our future,” Kroger Chief Executive Rodney McMullen said. “It allows us to serve customers better.”

Did you know?

The FBI is investigating 130 cryptocurrency-related cases, including crimes like human trafficking, drugs, kidnapping, and ransomware. While that may seem like a lot, the 130 open cases are only a tiny sliver of the investigations currently being pursued.


“Now that ELDs are here and everyone is feeling the capacity crunch, now the industry is looking for [HOS] flexibility. The federal government, whether it’s Congress or FMCSA, understands there is a flexibility problem.”

-John Seidl, transportation safety expert

In other news:

Clouds may be gathering to darken the heady days of air freight growth

Forwarders, scarred by 2017’s heady demand, may be block-booking air freight space for the second half of the year, but the pace of growth is slowing. (The LoadStar)

U.S. Inflation Hits Six-Year High in May

U.S. inflation posted its highest annual growth rate in six years last month as lower unemployment and faster output of goods and services reduce slack in the economy. (Wall Street Journal)

Natural Disasters and Supply Chain — The View From Key West

I recently moved from Boston to Key West, Florida to avoid the horrible winters and cold up north. No more blizzards. No more -20⁰F. Just sun, sand and surf. And hurricanes. (Forbes)

The DHL Global Trade Barometer index continues to forecast a solid growth for global trade

Despite the sabre rattling at top diplomatic levels regarding new trade policies and tariffs, The DHL Global Trade Barometer index continues to forecast a solid growth for global trade as the index hits 67, representing a slight increase (+1) compared to the previous release in March. (SupplyChain 24/7)

Bitcoin Bloodbath Nears Dot-Com Levels as Many Tokens Go to Zero

Bitcoin’s meteoric rise last year had many observers calling it one of the biggest speculative manias in history. The cryptocurrency’s 2018 crash may help cement its place in the bubble record books (Bloomberg)

Final thoughts:

After setting one record high after another in the early weeks of 2018, the weekly DAT Dry Van and Reefer Barometers first pulled back slightly before stabilizing in a strong growth range. Meanwhile the weekly DAT Flatbed Barometer has continued to set one new record high after another. All three modes of truckload trucking are reflecting an environment in which demand exceeds capacity by a wide margin.

The Dry Van Weekly Barometer is predicting stronger contract pricing in coming months. Even though it has pulled back slightly from extreme highs, it continues to reflect one of the highest levels of demand in excess of capacity in the history of the barometer.

Hammer down everyone!

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Ashley Coker, Staff Writer

Ashley is interested in the opportunities and issues that arise at the intersection of law and technology. She is the primary contributor to the news site content. She studied journalism at Middle Tennessee State University and worked as an editor and reporter at two daily newspapers before joining FreightWaves. Ashley spends her free time at the dog park with her beagle, Ruth, or scouring the internet for last minute flight deals.

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