Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) and Argo AI have teamed up to test a delivery service for Walmart Inc (NYSE:WMT) that uses self-driving vehicles. The pilot will start in Miami, Austin, and Washington and if it turns out successful, it will expand to other cities.
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TechCrunch reports that Argo’s cloud-based infrastructure will be integrated with Walmart’s online platform, “routing the orders and scheduling package deliveries to customers’ homes.”
According to the New York Times, the service will kick off with six autonomous vehicles using Argo AI’s technology, with two test drivers on board to monitor the operation and for safety purposes.
Argo’s founder and chief executive, Bryan Salesky, said: “Our focus on the testing and development of self-driving technology that operates in urban areas where customer demand is high really comes to life with this collaboration.”
“Working together with Walmart and Ford across three markets, we’re showing the potential for autonomous vehicle delivery services at scale.”
TechCrunch informs that the commercial service will initially be limited to specific geographic areas in each city and will expand over time. The companies will begin testing later this year.
Ford’s Similar Initiatives
In late July, Ford had announced an autonomous taxi service in Miami, with both Argo AI and transport company Lyft by the end of this year. The service is set to expand to Austin, Texas, in early 2022.
According to EFE News, the robotaxis will circulate under Lyft’s name and with Argo AI's autonomous driving system, but will also have a safety driver for emergency situations.
Ford said in a statement that the initial launch stage will give way to a period of extension, as the automaker is aiming at deploying 1,000 robotaxis operating on the Lyft network in a multitude of cities over the next five years.
Ford has been conducting limited testing of the Argo AI autonomous driving system for months in Austin, Miami, Detroit, Palo Alto, Pittsburgh, and Washington D.C.
Ford and Walmart are part of the Entrepreneur Index, which tracks 60 of the largest publicly traded companies managed by their founders or their founders’ families.