Walmart hops on the driverless delivery bandwagon

Walmart has become the next retailer to test driverless delivery methods.

Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart has become the next retailer to test driverless delivery methods.

The company announced that its latest pilot of self-driving vehicles in its grocery supply chain is a test of an autonomous vehicle from Gatik, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup specializing 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 between two of its stores.

Walmart said it wants 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 vice president of digital operations for Walmart, 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.

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.