Walmart Inc. (NYSE:WMT) has partnered with General Motors Co.’s (NYSE:GM) subsidiary Cruise LLC to pilot autonomous delivery service in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Walmart piloting autonomous delivery in Arizona
Under this pilot program, consumers can place orders from their local Walmart store and the delivery will be through Cruise’s self-driving elector Chevy Bolt cars. Although the cars will run autonomously, a human safety driver will be behind the wheel. The move is part of the retailer’s expansion of the pickup and delivery services to ensure customers receive their goods safely and in time.
In April, Walmart launched Express Delivery service currently available in over 2,800 stores after a successful initial pilot in 100 stores. The retailer stated that during the pandemic, there was a surge in the number of customers using delivery service. The Express delivery service offers deliveries in less than two hours for an extra $10 on top of the regular delivery fee.
Walmart partnership with autonomous car companies
The company has partnered with several other startups for autonomous vehicle and drone delivery services. Walmart is also running similar programs with Alphabet Inc.’s (NASDAQLGOOGL) Waymo and Ford Motor Co. (NYSE:F). However, the cruise partnership is different, considering all its cars are electric and they run on renewable energy. As a result, this is a massive boost to Walmart in its zero carbon emissions goal by 2040.
The companies dint offer details regarding the customer area to be served or the fleet size. The program expects to commence early 2021 with customers ordering from their local Walmart store and receiving deliveries through Cruise’s autonomous electric cars. According to Walmart’s SVP customer product in the US, the tech has the potential of saving customers a lot of time and cash. It will also be helpful to the planet on the road to zero carbon emission.
Due to the pandemic, some of the companies testing autonomous vehicles slowed down, but with social distancing concerns the future is looking at autonomous deliveries. Currently, most companies’ focus is developing mechanisms of contactless food delivery.