The newly announced pilot with Ford seeks to build on an existing partnership with delivery service Postmates that will explore the ways the service would change if and when a fully autonomous vehicle were added to the service. For now, the vehicles will simply be mocked up to look and feel like an autonomous vehicle, but the lessons learned are expected to translate to the near term future when fully autonomous vehicles are a reality.
The retail giant believes that moving to fully autonomous grocery delivery would cut shipping costs in half, making its offerings more accessible and more affordable to more customers. The offering seeks to bridge the gap that separates its brick and mortar stores model and its online warehouse competition at Amazon with same day, low cost delivery windows that would undercut the competition.
The partnership with Ford was a logical step for WalMart, as Ford is investing heavily into the development of fully autonomous vehicles and has been exploring the ramifications on delivery with partners like Domino’s Pizza and Postmates.
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