Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn, Argo AI, and Walmart today announced a partnership to launch an autonomous vehicle delivery service in Miami, Austin, and Washington, D.C., Walmart’s first multi-city autonomous delivery collaboration in the U.S.
The last-mile delivery service will use Ford’s self-driving test vehicles equipped with Pittsburgh-based Argo’s self-driving system to deliver Walmart orders to customers.
“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,” says Bryan Salesky, founder and CEO of Argo AI. “Working together with Walmart and Ford across three markets, we’re showing the potential for autonomous vehicle delivery services at scale.”
The commercial service will be available to Walmart customers within the within the defined service areas of the three markets, with plans for expansion over time. Initial integration testing Is slated to begin later this year.
This program comes as consumer expectations continue to shift to next-day or same-day delivery, especially in urban centers where there is a higher concentration of deliveries. One of the goals is to learn how autonomous technologies can enhance customer experiences, while also optimizing logistics and operations.
“We’re excited to expand our autonomous delivery efforts in three new markets alongside Argo and Ford,” says Tom Ward, senior vice president of last mile delivery for Walmart U.S. “This collaboration will further our mission to get products to the homes of our customers with unparalleled speed and ease, and in turn, will continue to pave the way for autonomous delivery.”
Using Argo’s cloud-based infrastructure, designed to work seamlessly and efficiently with partners’ business operations, Walmart will integrate its online ordering platform to route order and schedule package deliveries to customers’ homes.
In addition to testing self-driving technology in Pittsburgh; Detroit; and Palo Alto, Calif.; Argo and Ford have been operating in Miami and Washington D.C. since 2018, and in Austin since 2019, to build autonomous ride-hailing and delivery services and establish a real estate footprint and commercial fleet management capabilities.
“Argo and Ford are aggressively preparing for large-scale autonomous vehicle operations across a broad footprint of U.S. cities,” says Scott Griffith, CEO of Ford autonomous vehicles and mobility businesses.
“Pairing Walmart’s retail and e-commerce leadership with Argo and Ford’s self-driving operations across these multiple cities marks a significant step toward scaling a commercial goods delivery service that will ultimately power first-to-scale business efficiencies and enable a great consumer experience.”