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. It will use Ford self-driving test vehicles equipped with the Argo AI Self-Driving System to deliver Walmart orders to customers.
The collaboration brings together the world’s largest retailer, a self-driving technology provider and an automotive manufacturer able to integrate that technology with vehicles at scale. This combination builds on Walmart’s focus on adopting emerging technologies to meet growing consumer expectations and enhance the last-mile delivery process.
"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," says Tom Ward, senior vice president of last-mile delivery for Walmart US.
Argo’s cloud-based infrastructure, which is designed to work seamlessly with partners’ business operations, will integrate with Walmart’s online ordering platform to route orders and schedule package deliveries 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. According to the companies, as consumer expectations continue to shift to next-day or same-day delivery – especially in the urban core where there is a higher concentration of deliveries – this collaboration will drive key learnings in how autonomous technology can enhance customer experiences, while also optimising logistics and operations.
“Argo and Ford are aggressively preparing for large-scale autonomous vehicle operations across a broad footprint of US cities,” says Scott Griffith, CEO, Ford autonomous vehicles and 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,” says Griffith.