Walmart is partnering with carmaker Ford to pilot grocery delivery with driverless cars. The initial pilot will take place in Miami-Dade County, Florida. Postmates serves as Walmart’s delivery partner in Miami and is already connected to Ford’s digital platform.
“For a Walmart customer who has just started using grocery pickup, it might seem like shopping can’t get much easier—just order online, pull up to a parking space, and wait for an associate to load the items. Easy,” wrote Tom Ward, Walmart U.S. SVP, digital operations, wrote on the company’s website to announce to the move. “Retail is changing at a rapid pace, and what’s ‘easy’ in 2018 might feel old-fashioned in 2028. In fact, Walmart is already offering grocery delivery in nearly 100 metro areas and is continuing to innovate to find new ways to serve customers—better faster, and easier.
“That’s why we are partnering with Ford to explore delivery with autonomous vehicle technology. We’re still learning—it’s a pilot—but, we want to make sure we stay on the cutting edge of grocery delivery by exploring what’s new and next.”
Walmart recently piloted a small project with Waymo to start exploring how customers will want to use self-driving cars when it comes to their grocery shopping. Through this new pilot with Ford, Ward says Walmart aims to learn more about how it can take advantage of self-driving vehicles to deliver fresh groceries to customers.
“Walmart and Ford agree autonomous vehicles have an important role to play as we consider the future of delivery,” Ward wrote. “Before self-driving cars can go mainstream, we must get a better sense of how people want to interact with them. Together, we will gather crucial data to learn the best way to bring items to customers. There’s no telling what innovation the future will bring, but Walmart is committed to staying on the forefront of change to make getting groceries simple, quick and easy.”