Groceries on the move

Walmart selects Austin as first market for new self-driving delivery service

Walmart selects Austin as first city for self-driving delivery service

Ford and Walmart
The new service is likely to drive more demand. Ford Motor Company

Attention, Walmart shoppers in Austin. Your order soon could be delivered by a self-driving vehicle.

On September 15, Walmart, Ford, and Argo AI announced they’re launching an autonomous delivery service in Austin, Miami, and Washington, D.C. The delivery service will rely on Ford self-driving test vehicles equipped with Argo AI’s self-driving system.

“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,” Bryan Salesky, founder and CEO of Argo AI, says in a news release. “Working together with Walmart and Ford across three markets, we’re showing the potential for autonomous vehicle delivery services at scale.”

Tom Ward, senior vice president of last-mile delivery for Walmart’s U.S. operations, says the collaboration with Ford and Argo “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.”

Later this year, Walmart customers in South Austin will be able to place orders for groceries and other popular items, and have the orders delivered to their homes via a Ford self-driving vehicle. Deliveries will originate from the Walmart store on West Ben White Boulevard.

“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’s 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.”

This news comes on the heels of Ford and Argo’s recent announcement of their partnership with ride-hailing service Lyft to put Ford self-driving vehicles, with safety drivers aboard, on the streets of Austin later this year. Ford operates a self-driving vehicle terminal and command center in Austin.