The world’s largest retailer is partnering with an automotive giant and its autonomous technology affiliate to roll out a self-driving delivery service in three U.S. cities.
Ford and Walmart announced that the automaker’s test vehicles, equipped with Argo AI’s self-driving system, would deliver groceries and other popular Walmart products directly to the homes of online shoppers in the Miami, Austin, Texas, and Washington, D.C., metro areas.
Argo and Walmart will integrate their software platforms to route packages and schedule deliveries. Initial integration testing is scheduled to begin later this year.
The companies will initially restrict the service to defined areas in those three markets — where Ford and Argo are already testing self-driving technology — before expanding the service areas over time.
Company officials said the partnership shows the potential for autonomous delivery services at scale, particularly in high-demand urban corridors and as customers increasingly acclimate to same-day or next-day delivery.
The announcement marks Walmart’s first multi-city autonomous delivery collaboration in the U.S., and follows a test with Ford in Miami three years ago. The retailer also previously partnered with self-driving startups Gatik and Nuro, as well as General Motors autonomous subsidiary Cruise.
Ford, which owns a stake in Argo AI along with Volkswagen, is also testing self-driving vehicles in Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Silicon Valley.