Albertsons Companies, the Boise-based grocery giant, launched a new automated grocery pick-up kiosk at a store in the Chicago area.
The kiosk, dubbed as a trial run by the company, allows customers to shop online, drive to the store, scan a code on their phone, and have groceries made available without human contact.
Albertsons partnered with Estonian company Cleveron for the project. The kiosk includes a “deep freeze” zone as well as a regular temperature area. When a customer arrives during a pre-arranged two-hour window, robotics inside the kiosk retrieve their groceries from one or both of the zones and make them available through portals on the front of the kiosk.
The first unit rolled out in the parking lot of a Jewel-Osco store on Wabash Ave. in downtown Chicago. Another test unit is planned for a Safeway store in the San Francisco bay area, according to a news release.
The new grocery pickup test joins a number of initiatives the company rolled out across its roughly 2,500 stores in the last few years. A Drive Up and Go program, piloted in Boise, started launching widely at stores and accelerated in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The company also offers home delivery using its own fleet of trucks, as well as a partnership with Instacart. The company started to lay off drivers in some areas and outsource the work to third parties, according to reporting by Business Insider.