This article is originally from RIS News.
Walmart is entering its first multi-city autonomous delivery collaboration as a new last-mile answer for online orders.
The retailer has teamed up with Ford Motor Company and Argo AI to launch an autonomous vehicle delivery service in Miami, Austin, Texas, and Washington, D.C. The last mile delivery service will use Ford self-driving test vehicles equipped with the Argo AI Self-Driving System to deliver Walmart orders to customers. Walmart previously collaborated with Ford and Postmates in November 2018 to test self-driving vehicles to deliver fresh groceries in Florida’s Miami-Dade County.
The multi-city service will enable Walmart customers to place orders of groceries and other popular items online for door-to-door autonomous delivery directly to customers’ homes. The commercial service will be available to Walmart customers within defined service areas of the three markets and will expand over time, with initial integration testing slated to begin later this year.
“We’re excited to expand our autonomous delivery efforts in three new markets alongside Argo and Ford,” said Tom Ward, senior vice president of last mile delivery, Walmart U.S. “This collaboration will further our mission to get products to the homes of our customers with unparalleled speed and ease, and in turn, will continue to pave the way for autonomous delivery.”
Argo’s cloud-based infrastructure will integrate with Walmart’s online ordering platform to route orders and schedule package deliveries to customers’ homes.
“Our focus on the testing and development of self-driving technology that operates in urban areas where customer demand is high really comes to life with this collaboration,” said Bryan Salesky, founder and CEO, Argo AI. “Working together with Walmart and Ford across three markets, we’re showing the potential for autonomous vehicle delivery services at scale.”
Walmart also tested an autonomous vehicle pilot with Gatik in 2019, to move customer orders on a two-mile route between a dark store and a Neighborhood Market store in Bentonville, AR. It then announced it would move on to operate the middle-mile route driverless in 2020.
“Argo and Ford are aggressively preparing for large-scale autonomous vehicle operations across a broad footprint of U.S. cities,” said Scott Griffith, CEO, Ford Autonomous Vehicles & Mobility Businesses. “Pairing Walmart’s retail and e-commerce leadership with Argo and Ford’s self-driving operations across these multiple cities marks a significant step toward scaling a commercial goods delivery service that will ultimately power first-to-scale business efficiencies and enable a great consumer experience.”