Walmart Teams Up with Waymo to Launch Self-Driving Delivery Cars
BENTONVILLE, AR - In a new strategy to stay on top of online grocery and delivery, Walmart is taking a back seat and asking its consumers to do the same in the name of innovation. While online grocery delivery services seemed pretty streamlined already, if you ask me—place an order online and wait for it to arrive for an easy I-don’t-even-have-to-wear-real-pants peasy grocery option—Walmart is changing the whole meaning of online grocery delivery and partnering with Waymo, a self-driving technology company, to shuttle consumers to and from stores in self-driving cars.
“We’re always thinking of ways we can serve our customers now and into the future. And we’re looking at different technology and capabilities that keep customers loving the time-saving, wallet-saving service that is online grocery for years to come. So, enter a small pilot project we’re running with Waymo, formerly known as Google’s self-driving car project,” writes Tom Ward, Vice President – Digital Operations, Walmart U.S., in a blog post.
Currently, the pilot is on track to offer services to 400 of Waymo’s daily users known as “early riders” in Chandler, Arizona. And, with many consumers still iffy about the lack of human drivers on the road, Ward notes that Waymo cars have safely self-driven over 8 million miles across 25 U.S. cities.
“The purpose of all of this: to learn. While giving customers a unique experience with amazing technology, we’re learning how we can make Walmart Online Grocery Pickup even more convenient. Waymo’s experience, industry leading technology, and mission on safety is helping us enter this space in the right way. We’re excited to see what this pilot and the future hold,” Ward continues in the post.
Similar to other online grocery services, the pilot asks consumers to place an order on Walmart’s website that will then be completed by personal shoppers. But instead of waiting at home, Waymo cars will take consumers to Walmart stores to pick up their groceries, in a kind of throwback to the old tradition of going to the grocery store.
Will more retailers pilot self-driving cars to innovate online grocery if Walmart proves successful? AndNowUKnow will continue to report on all grocery retail developments.