Citizens of Austin, Miami and Washington, DC, may receive their next Walmart order from an autonomous car. On Wednesday, Ford and its self-driving technology partner Argo AI announced a new last-mile delivery service with Walmart. The three companies will launch the service in the three cities as a pilot program as each looks to expand their footprint with these sorts of emerging operations.
For Walmart, it gains experience in delivering items quickly with the last-mile system. Ford and Argo AI gain crucial real-world experience with the automaker’s hardware and Argo AI’s self-driving software. In the end, each company wants to create the foundations for a true autonomous delivery operation where customers place an order and receive their items the same day quickly and efficiently. Ford and Argo AI already, and the automaker’s also busy testing in Miami.
The companies didn’t provide too many details about the nuts and bolts of this program, but there will be defined service areas for Walmart customers to use the autonomous delivery. Groceries and other popular items often ordered online will be available, but it sounds like you won’t be strapping a piece of furniture into one of these. The program kicks off later this year and operating zones in each city will expand over time.