Artificial Intelligence: The AI That Powers Walmart’s Express Delivery
Walmart’s Express Delivery fulfills orders within two hours.
Walmart (NYSE: WMT) has an inventory of 160,000 items offered through its Express Delivery service that launched last month. The service is already on offer at 100 stores in the U.S. as a pilot test and will be extended to 2,000 stores this month. The system relies heavily on AI. (VentureBeat)
AI in Walmart’s Express Delivery
AI runs in the background to support Walmart’s mobile- or web-based ordering system. For instance, it checks in real-time whether the ordering customer is eligible for the Express Delivery system.
The AI programs also consider the date and time of the delivery slot selected by the customer. A “resource optimization and vehicle routing” module optimizes delivery resources by assigning vehicles and selecting routes. The program does this even while considering variables such as the number of orders in the delivery slot, available vehicles, distances, and weather conditions.
These outputs into another system for updating delivery slots and their available capacity, within milliseconds, according to Walmart.
If slots are full, the next customer checkout will not see an Express Delivery slot.
AI in order packing
On acceptance of order and slot, another AI system takes over to monitor its successful fulfillment. It alerts shopping assistants on their hand-helds to grab the ordered items from store shelves and ready them for pick up.
Lastly, another system directs vehicles to the store to pick up the order from the store. For Express Delivery orders, the vehicles must proceed to a specially designated area, the driver must walk to the cart readied by the shopping assistant, and then load it into his vehicle.
“The platform and component architecture we’ve built are the backbone and intelligence behind Express Delivery,” said Walmart SVP Fiona Tan via email to VentureBeat. “As we continue to add new machine learning-driven capabilities like this in the future, as well as the corresponding customer experiences, we’ll be able to iterate and scale quickly by leveraging the flexible technology platforms we’ve developed.”
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