Automated delivery via driverless cars may be just around the corner for a few Walmart customers early next year in the Scottsdale area.
Walmart said in a Tuesday (Nov. 10) announcement that it will be teaming up with Cruise, an autonomous electric vehicle venture controlled by General Motors, to start making deliveries to customers living near the Arizona city early next year.
This isn’t the first time Walmart has teamed up with a driverless automobile company. Previously, the world’s largest brick-and-mortar retailer announced autonomous vehicle ventures with Nuro in Houston, Ford in Miami, Gatik in Arkansas and with Waymo, owned by Google corporate parent Alphabet, in Phoenix. Walmart has been taking to the air to test potential drone delivery services, as well, partnering with Flytrex.
The new venture with Cruise supports Walmart’s push to reach zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040 while also helping bolster the retailer’s efforts to expand delivery service in the wake of the pandemic, said Tom Ward, senior vice president of customer products, in the announcement.
Since launching “Express Delivery” in April, Walmart has rolled it out to 2,800 stores covering 65 percent of all households in the United States, the announcement noted.
“Technology that has the potential to not only save customers time and money but also is helpful to the planet is technology we want to learn more about,” Ward said in the announcement.
For its part, Cruise has been testing out its autonomous vehicles over the past few years on the streets of San Francisco and Phoenix, delivering groceries and providing cab service, Reuters reported. In addition to majority owner GM, investors in Cruise include SoftBank, T. Rowe Price and Honda.
Cruise said in an email it is “laser-focused on making this first pilot successful with Walmart,” according to Reuters.