Walmart Tests Self-Driving Vehicles for Grocery Pickup
Walmart is beginning a pilot program with Alphabet’s Waymo to transport customers to and from Walmart stores to pick up their groceries in self-driving cars.
The Phoenix area test pilot is limited to the approximately 400 participants in Waymo’s early-rider program, which launched in April 2017, and will run out of one Walmart store in Chandler, Arizona. It gives early riders savings on groceries each week when they are ordered on Walmart.com. While orders are being prepared at the store, Waymo vehicles transport shoppers to and from Walmart to collect their groceries, Waymo says in a blog post.
Waymo, formerly known as Google’s self-driving car project, have safely self-driven over 8 million miles on roads across 25 U.S. cities already (Alphabet is Google’s parent company). All rides are free for volunteers, but the Waymo app recently started to show hypothetical prices.
"We’re always thinking of ways we can serve our customers now and into the future," noted Tom Ward, VP-digital operations at Walmart US, in a blog post. "And we’re looking at different technology and capabilities that keep customers loving the time-saving, wallet-saving service that is Online Grocery for years to come."
"While giving customers a unique experience with amazing technology, we’re learning how we can make Walmart Online Grocery Pickup even more convenient," he continues. "Waymo’s experience, industry leading technology and mission on safety is helping us enter this space in the right way."
“We’ve tailored our partnerships to meet the top rider needs,” Waymo said. “While these are Metro Phoenix-specific partnerships today, these businesses are national and what we learn from these programs will give us a network of partners when we launch in new cities down the road.”