Ford Motor Company, Argo AI, and Walmart have announced a new autonomous vehicle delivery service, set to debut in Miami, Austin, and Washington D.C. The announcement marks the first multi-city automated delivery collaboration in the United States for Walmart, which will utilize Ford’s self-driving test vehicles equipped with Argo AI technology to deliver orders to customers. As described in a joint press release, this collaboration brings together three different companies, each with their own unique areas of expertise: a self-driving technology provider, a global automotive manufacturer, and one of the world’s largest retailers.
“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 Bryan Salesky, founder and CEO, Argo AI. “Working together with Walmart and Ford across three markets, we’re showing the potential for autonomous vehicle delivery services at scale.”
“We’re excited to expand our autonomous delivery efforts in three new markets alongside Argo and Ford,” said Tom Ward, senior vice president of last-mile delivery, 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.”
Walmart customers can order groceries and other popular items online, with delivery to follow soon after via the autonomous last-mile delivery service. As of this writing, the service will be available to Walmart customers within defined areas of the initial three markets but is expected to expand over time. Argo’s cloud-based infrastructure will integrate with Walmart’s online ordering platform to route orders and schedule deliveries to customers’ homes.
With integration testing beginning later in 2021, the companies say the collaboration will drive key learnings into how autonomous technology can enhance customer experiences while optimizing logistics.
“Argo and Ford are aggressively preparing for large-scale autonomous vehicle operations across a broad footprint of U.S. cities,” explained Scott Griffith, CEO, Ford Autonomous Vehicles & 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.”
Along with testing in Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Palo Alto, Argo AI and Ford have been operating in Miami and Washington D.C. since 2018 and in Austin since 2019. The goal is to build autonomous ride-hailing and delivery services and establish the necessary real estate footprint and commercial fleet management capabilities, including fueling, servicing, and cleaning self-driving vehicles.