Grocery Delivery By Drone Slated For Fall Takeoff


Groceries delivered by drone?

A supermarket in Alabama is shaping up to be the next big testing ground for what could either be the wave of the future in retail — or an idea better suited for the Jetsons than for real life.

The world will find out more this fall when Rouses Markets in Mobile, Ala., launches what it is calling “an unmanned grocery delivery pilot program,” the grocer said in a press release.

Rouses, which has 64 stores and 7,000 employees in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi, currently delivers grocery orders to customer homes and has embraced online shopping.

But Donny Rouse, the local grocery chain’s CEO, said he is looking for something quicker and more cost-efficient.

Quicker as in groceries to doorstep in fewer than 30 minutes, Rouse noted in the press release announcing the upcoming experiment in delivery by drone.

The grocer has teamed up with Boston-based Deuce Drone on the big pilot program.

“Drone delivery offers the fastest, safest delivery store to door. We should be able to get groceries to customers in 30 minutes or even less,” Rouse noted. “Plus it’s more cost-efficient, meaning we can save customers time and money.”​

The demonstration of Deuce’s Aerial Drone Delivery Interface System (ADDIS) is slated to take place at Rouses Market on Airport Boulevard in Mobile, Alabama.

For its part, Deuce bills itself as offering a solution to the “last mile delivery problem for brick and mortar retailers,” arguing its drones will help even smaller retailers go head to head with the giants of eCommerce.

“We’re excited to partner with Rouses Markets and work together to alter the landscape of home delivery,” said Rhett Ross, CEO of Deuce Drone.

The pilot program in Alabama comes as Alphabet’s drone venture, Wing, zooms ahead with grocery deliveries from the sky under pilot programs in Christiansburg, Va., and in Helsinki and Canberra.