Walmart trials Ford autonomous final mile delivery vans

Walmart is to use autonomous delivery vehicles developed by Ford and Argo AI to deliver goods the final mile in Washington DC, Austin and Miami.

Customers will place orders online, and the Argo AI system will be integrated with the Walmart platform. This will route orders and schedule deliveries to their homes. At first the programme will be piloted in smaller areas and then develop in geographical reach. The pilot is to begin later this year.

This is not the first time that Ford has worked with Walmart – they did a limited test with Postmates in late 2018 where they used simulated self-driving vehicles to explore the user experience of grocery delivery.

Argo was not involved in the last live research but will now be used to drive the vehicles in this test. The aim of this pilot is to trial autonomous deliveries at scale.

Ford is exploring a two track business model, with one of its outputs being an autonomous vehicle fleet contracted out as both a taxi service for people and as a delivery vehicle service for groceries and last mile parcel delivery and the other continuing its traditional vehicle manufacture and sales model. It originally invested in Argo AI in 2016.

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