With autonomous, same-day delivery vehicles.
Ford and Argo AI are expanding their reach with a new program aimed at Walmart customers. The three companies will work together to provide "Walmart's first multicity autonomous delivery collaboration in the US." It will start in Miami, which already has a few autonomous vehicles running around, Washington D.C. and Austin, Texas. This is part of a "last mile" delivery service, which is logistically the most difficult and costly when transporting goods.
"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."
With customers now used to same-day or next-day delivery services, something like this could take a bit out of retailer giant Amazon's pie. Ford wants to integrate its self-driving technology at scale, and partnering with the world's largest retailer will get them closer. Walmart is also a leader in adopting emerging technologies like this. We're a little surprised the company's are using the Ford Escape; the Mustang Mach-E would be so much more exciting.
The service will be available to Walmart customers - we're sure you'll have to sign up - and will expand over time. Initial integration testing should start later this year. Ford says this will enhance its learnings about how autonomous tech can help with customer experience. It'll also gather all of that autonomous driving data to add to its growing pile.
"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."
Like the autonomous cars Ford and Argo are currently testing in Pittsburg, Detroit, and Palo Alto, California, these Walmart delivery vehicles will still have a safety driver in the front right seat. Walmart's online ordering platform will integrate with Argo's cloud computing to plan out the routes and schedule the deliveries.