Walmart Expands Self-driving Delivery Service
Walmart is teaming up with Ford Motor and the automaker’s autonomous driving affiliate Argo AI as it expands its self-driving delivery service. The trio is set to start testing the service later this year in Miami, Washington, D.C., and Austin, Texas. It will enable customers to do their shopping online and get their goods using autonomous door-to-door delivery.
Once the orders are placed, Argo’s cloud-based system will round up the items and schedule package deliveries. From there, Ford’s self-driving vehicles equipped with Argo’s autonomous system take over and deliver the goods to customers.
“We’re excited to expand our autonomous delivery efforts in three new markets alongside Argo and Ford. 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,” said Tom Ward, senior vice president of Walmart’s last-mile delivery.
The retail giant started the pilot program with self-driving vehicles in 2018 with Gatik and General Motors-backed Cruise. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, online grocery sales skyrocketed as more consumers had to stay at home due to lockdowns. Consequently, Walmart has seen a growth in eCommerce sales of 79% in the last fiscal year.
In order to keep up with demand and adapt to market changes, Walmart introduced its Walmart+ membership program last year. Members are entitled to unlimited free grocery deliveries to their homes. The use of self-driving vehicles is part of a push to cater to Walmart+ users.
The small fleet of self-driving cars in pilot cities involves the use of cutting-edge technology for delivering items right to the consumers’ doorstep. It also enables safe shopping in the time of pandemics. As the world turns to online sales, a growing number of eCommerce platforms are thriving while offering their services to help kick start eCommerce businesses.
Julia A. is a writer at SmallBizGenius.net. With experience in both finance and marketing industries, she enjoys staying up to date with the current economic affairs and writing opinion pieces on the state of small businesses in America. As an avid reader, she spends most of her time poring over history books, fantasy novels, and old classics. Tech, finance, and marketing are her passions, and she’s a frequent contributor at various small business blogs.
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