Ford and Walmart are exploring how grocery delivery can help expand access to fresh food and other retail items for people all over the country, including in Miami-Dade County, where they’re currently putting their comprehensive self-driving business operations to the test, reported Brian Wolf, Director, Business Development, Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC on Medium.
Through the collaboration, they are exploring how self-driving vehicles can deliver many everyday goods such as groceries, diapers, pet food and personal care items. Enabled by Postmates delivery as a service, they were able to quickly set up a pilot program that explores how our self-driving vehicles can complement Walmart’s existing delivery offerings.
Already, Walmart has seen customers respond positively to its grocery delivery option, which uses the company’s trained personal shoppers to select fresh produce and other groceries for orders that are then fulfilled through Postmates and its other delivery networks. By the end of this year, that option will be available in 800 stores across 100 metropolitan areas around the country. Next year, the number of stores offering delivery service is expected to double.
Like Ford, Walmart believes that self-driving vehicles have an important role to play in the future of delivery, and that true success comes from first learning how individuals want to use them in their daily lives. Together, we’ll be using research vehicles, designed to simulate an autonomous experience, to gather crucial data about consumer preferences and learn the best way we can conveniently connect people with the goods they need.
In the next few months they will be exploring different vehicle configurations or modifications that we could make to meet people’s needs — especially to accommodate perishable goods, or scenarios where our vehicles end up making multiple deliveries on a single trip.