Ford, Walmart Come Together for Autonomous Vehicle Delivery Service
UNITED STATES – According to an online news report from motorauthority.com, automaker Ford and retail giant Walmart are coming together to test an autonomous vehicle delivery service. Food delivery company Postmates will also be in on the deal.*
Ford has been testing various types of autonomous delivery vehicles, and now it is partnering with well-known businesses like Walmart and Postmates to bring goods to customers’ doors. Walmart has been working on a large-scale delivery system, and Postmates is looking to grow its business without raising driver costs, so the partnership seems to benefit everyone.
Currently, Walmart uses personal shoppers to fulfill orders, and Postmates drivers deliver the items to customers. Ford will provide self-driving vehicles for the project that will drive to customers’ homes or drop-off points and drive back to the Walmart store when the items have been unloaded. The test program will identify areas for improvement quickly, like whether the self-driving cars can handle multiple deliveries of perishable items.
In the past, Walmart worked with Waymo (the self-driving vehicle company owned by Google’s parent company) for autonomous vehicle delivery. The retailer offered discounts for people who were already involved in Waymo’s Early Riders program to ride in self-driving cars during deliveries. The deal with Ford looks to eliminate human drivers from the process. The autonomous cars will move between Walmart and delivery spots without people involved.
Ford has already dipped into self-driving delivery by bringing tacos and pizzas to customers in the Miami-Dade area of Florida. The automaker will soon expand that food delivery operation to Washington, D.C., Detroit, Michigan, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
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