Walmart announced that it is testing a new pilot program by collaborating with the American robotics startup Nuro. The service will start in 2020 in Houston, and the Walmart customers will get home delivery through Nuro’s self-driving vehicles.
The testing is progressing with Nuro’s R2 prototype vehicle, which carries products only, as well as Toyota Prius, to bring online grocery delivery to the Walmart customers’ houses. Both vehicles are powered by Nuro.
Founded in 2016 by Dave Ferguson and Jiajun Zhu, Nuro uses a driverless technology to deliver orders to the customers. It is one of the few companies operating driverless vehicles on public roads. Since March this year, the company has been providing grocery deliveries in Houston with the help of Toyota Prius. Recently, the firm raised around $1 billion from SoftBank with the participation of Greylock Partners and Gaorong Capital.
The Nuro vehicles will select some group of customers and deliver Walmart online grocery orders in Houston. Nuro has been developing a self-driving stack and it is combined with an automated vehicle to design for last-mile delivery of goods and services. The vehicle has two compartments that can fit into six grocery bags.
Walmart has been testing various driving options to introduce self-driving vehicles to deliver groceries to the customer’s doorsteps. Also, it is planning to develop an end-to-end customer experience.
“We believe this technology is a natural extension of our Grocery Pickup and Delivery service, and our goal of making every day a little easier for customers,” says Tom Ward, Walmart’s SVP of digital operations.
Walmart’s Online Grocery Delivery Business is increasing exponentially. Currently, Walmart is delivering services across the US to make some possible deliveries, including Point Pickup, Skipcart, Roadie, Postmates, and DoorDash.
By the end of this year, Walmart Grocery will introduce nearly 3,100 pickup locations and 1,600 stores that support grocery delivery.
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