Walmart announced today that it has partnered with Cruise to pilot self-driving delivery services using electric vehicles (EVs). The test will kick off in early 2021 in Scottsdale, Arizona.
The retailer will use Cruise's autonomous EVs to pick up your orders from a local store. The orders will then be delivered to customers contact-free. Walmart hopes for the upcoming initiative to not only save pickup time for customers but also to help reduce its impact on the planet.
Tom Ward, Senior Vice President of Customer Product at Walmart U.S., said in a blog post:
"We may be growing delivery options today, but we’re still experimenting with new ways we can use technology to serve customers in the future...What’s unique about Cruise is they’re the only self-driving car company to operate an entire fleet of all-electric vehicles powered with 100% renewable energy, which supports our road to zero emissions by 2040."
The alliance with Cruise complements Walmart's earlier self-driving delivery experiments. Late last year, the company teamed up with autonomous vehicle-making firm Nuro to test autonomous grocery deliveries in Houston, Texas. Prior to that, Walmart partnered with Ford to test delivering groceries and pet foods, among other products, using self-driving cars.
That said, Cruise could offer a more appealing delivery service especially for environmental advocates with its fleet of all-electric vehicles. It remains to be seen, however, when commercial autonomous delivery will see wider adoption.