Walmart Leverages Ford’s Argo AI Autonomous Vehicles to Provide Delivery Services
Walmart’s delivery services will be offered in Miami, Austin and Washington, D.C.
Amazon took advantage of the COVID pandemic, to develop a delivery infrastructure to overcome the challenge to getting web-based purchases to customers in shorter time frames. As the eCommerce giant sold billions of dollars of merchandise, the company put pressure on others in the same space by delivering items in a matter of hours in some instances.
Even as cities and states began to ease lockdown restrictions, consumers still came to expect quick delivery of internet orders. Who didn’t appreciate the convenience of ordering something at 7 or 8pm in the evening, and finding their newly purchased wares on their doorstep on the way out the door the next morning.
The world’s largest retailer Walmart struggled to keep pace, relying on traditional third-party delivery partners who simply couldn’t keep up with Amazon. The Arkansas based company, that had always been an adopter of emerging technology, may have found a way to even the delivery playing field.
The company announced a partnership with Ford and Argo AI, that will utilize autonomous vehicles to deliver orders to customers.
The last-mile delivery service will be rolled out in three major urban centers, Miami, Austin, TX and Washington, D.C. The multi-city service will enable Walmart customers to place orders of groceries and other popular items online for door-to-door autonomous delivery directly to customers’ homes.
The commercial service will be available to Walmart customers within defined service areas of the three markets and will expand over time, with initial integration testing slated to begin later this year.
If you’ve been following Ford and Argo AI, the announcement may have been a surprise, but definitely makes perfect sense.
Argo AI is a global autonomous vehicle technology platform company headquartered in Pittsburgh. The company is developing self-driving technology in partnership with leading automakers, including Ford Motor Company and Volkswagen Group. Both Ford and Volkswagen Group have heavily invested in the company giving the automakers partial ownership.
For their part, Ford has been aggressive in implementing real-world solutions that utilize Argo AI’s technology. Earlier in 2021, Ford and Argo AI announced another partnership with the ride-hailing service Lyft to provide autonomous mobility services in Miami and Austin, TX.
The new service continues Ford’s trend of focusing on mobility in addition to the manufacturing of personal vehicles.