Artificial Intelligence: Ford, Argo AI, Walmart To Launch Deliveries Via Autonomous Vehicles

September 16, 2021 | Artificial Intelligence, News
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The service is being launched in Miami, Austin, Texas, and Washington, D.C.

Walmart (NYSE: WMT) has tied up with Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) and Argo AI for its first multi-city, last mile, autonomous delivery collaboration in the U.S. Ford’s self-driving test vehicles equipped with the Argo AI Self-Driving System will deliver Walmart orders to customers’ homes in Miami, Austin, Texas, and Washington, D.C. (Ford Media Center)

The service would use Ford Escape hybrid vehicles. Argo AI’s cloud infrastructure will integrate with Walmart’s online ordering platform to route orders and schedule package deliveries to customers by the self-driving cars.

Walmart to make shopping easier

Walmart customers in the above cities can place their shopping orders online and get the items delivered to their homes by the door-to-door, autonomous service.

Walmart have identified that there is a higher concentration of deliveries in core urban areas, and that customers increasingly seek same-day or next-day deliveries. Testing of the new commercial service is scheduled to begin later this year, and will initially be opened to Walmart customers within designated areas in the three cities. It is expected that the service would be gradually extended in due course to more locations.

“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.”

Walmart+, the retailer’s membership program offers free, unlimited grocery deliveries to members’ homes.

Online sales yet to turn a profit

Walmart’s Ecommerce sales in the U.S. surged 79% in the year to January 31, though the online channel is still unprofitable. According to CNBC, Walmart’s collaboration with Ford and Argo AI is intended to make its deliveries more cost-competitive.

“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,” said Scott Griffith, CEO, Ford Autonomous Vehicles & Mobility Businesses.

Related Story: Ford, Argo AI, Lyft To Commercialize Autonomous Ride-Hailing

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