Walmart plans to work with Ford and Argo AI to launch a new autonomous delivery service in select cities. The service’s main goal is to deliver what’s known as “last-mile deliveries” to nearby customers.
This news confirms that Walmart plans to use Ford vehicles equipped with the latest and greatest from Argo’s AI self-driving platform. According to Engadget, the company plans to initially roll the service out to only three cities, including Miami, Austin, Washington DC, at some point later this year. Then, if all goes well, we can expect the service to expand to more regions.
“Our focus on the testing and development of self-driving technology that operates in urban areas where customer demand is high really comes to life with this collaboration,” said Argo AI founder and CEO Bryan Salesky. “Working together with Walmart and Ford across three markets, we’re showing the potential for autonomous vehicle delivery services at scale.”
As you can see, this isn’t a full-on delivery service, at least not yet. Instead, it’s essentially an expansion of testing as the teams work toward a better future. So basically, don’t expect a robot vehicle to pull up without a human and bring you groceries anytime soon.
Ford confirmed that deliveries would only be available in those three cities, not to mention “within defined service areas” that likely aren’t very big. It will focus on next-day or same-day deliveries to nearby urban locations, then expand further over time.
While this is good news for Walmart, Ford, and Argo AI, the vehicles will still have a human safely behind the wheel at all times. Hopefully, however, as things progress, we can see the program expand into driverless same-day deliveries.