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Walmart launches new store-to-store driverless delivery pilot

Walmart continues analyzing how autonomous vehicles can move groceries throughout its supply chain.

The discount giant’s latest pilot of self-driving vehicles in its grocery supply chain is a test of an autonomous vehicle from Gatik. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup specializes in providing autonomous vehicles for B2B short-haul logistics.

In March, Arkansas passed legislation allowing for autonomous vehicles to operate in the state. This enables Walmart to test an autonomous vehicle to move customer orders on a two-mile route in Bentonville, where the company is headquartered, between two of its stores.

Walmart aims to learn more about the logistics of adding autonomous vehicles into its online grocery ecosystem, operation process changes, and more possible opportunities to incorporate self-driving technology.

“We’re always out to help our customers, and that means helping them save time and money,” said Tom Ward, senior VP of digital operations, Walmart US, in a corporate blog post. So, we’re using our position of strength to reinvent the shopping experience to take us, and busy families, well into the future.

Walmart has been active in piloting different autonomous vehicle technologies as a means of delivering online grocery orders. In January, the retailer initiated a pilot with autonomous vehicle company Udelv in Surprise, Arizona. The program will test the effectiveness of custom-made driverless cargo vans from Udelv in delivering groceries handpicked by Walmart personal shoppers to customers.

In November 2018, Walmart partnered with Ford Motor Co. and Postmates to test self-driving vehicles to deliver fresh groceries. The pilot, which is taking place in Florida’s Miami-Dade County, uses Ford driverless cars to deliver fresh groceries hand-picked by Walmart’s personal shoppers.
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