Walmart is set to pilot deliveries via all-electric self-driving vehicles in the next few months amid a new tie-up with General Motors.
The US retail giant has partnered with General Motors’ electric vehicle subsidiary Cruise to launch the pilot programme, which is set to take place early next year.
Cruise’s fleet of 100 per cent electric driverless vehicles will begin delivering orders to Walmart customers across its hometown of Scottsdale, Arizona from local Walmart stores.
“Technology that has the potential to not only save customers time and money but also be helpful to the planet is technology we want to learn more about,” Walmart’s senior vice president of customer product Tom Ward said.
While this will be Walmart’s first driverless delivery trial, Cruise is just one of six autonomous car companies the retailer is working with.
Ford, Waymo, Gatik, Udelv and Nuro are also working with Walmart to develop and test new delivery technologies, while DroneUps, Flytrex and Zipline are also helping the retailer develop drone delivery solutions.
Consumer Growth Partners’ president Craig Johnson added: “The problem with driverless cars is the scalability issue.
“Walmart’s curbside click and collect is a proven model that the retailer is able to provide with its existing infrastructure of stores, albeit with slightly modifications. It seems like a much more efficient model because it’s all scalable and you don’t have to invest in a lot of technology that you may be underutilising.”