Ford to Test AV Grocery Deliveries

Ford is partnering with Walmart to explore grocery delivery via autonomous vehicles.

The move follows the retail giant’s experimental operation of AVs for the purpose of ferrying its customers to its stores. In a blog post, Walmart senior vice-president of digital operations Tom Ward said his company was partnering with the automaker for a pilot program in Miami-Dade County, Florida that it hoped would help it remain “on the cutting edge of grocery delivery by exploring what’s new and next”.

He added that in Miami, on-demand customer delivery service Postmates would serve as the two companies’ third partner, and had “already connected to Ford’s digital platform” in preparation. Ward claimed both Walmart and Ford felt AVs had “an important role to play … [in] the future of delivery”, but “a better sense of how people want to interact with them” was needed before they could undergo “mainstream” deployment.

His comments follow Waymo CEO John Krafcik’s warnings that fully autonomous vehicles are unlikely to ever come to fruition, and even those technically classified as having full autonomy will likely be subject to severe operational limitations.


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