No matter how organized or diligent you are with your grocery list, you’ll inevitably forget an item at the store or run out of something at home earlier than you expected, prompting an unplanned trip. And don’t forget about the last-minute carry-in at work or class snack your son needs in less than 12 hours. To help alleviate the stress of endless chores after you get home from work, Ford, Walmart and Postmates are teaming up to expand what self-driving vehicles can deliver to you.
Ford is currently exploring options on how to use self-driving vehicles for transporting goods like floral arrangements, tacos and dry cleaning with the assistance of local and national partners. Ford’s next step is making self-driving vehicles work for a broader audience with the delivery of food, personal care, baby essentials and pet food from Walmart. Postmates will coordinate the delivery logistics.
So far, customer response to Walmart’s current grocery delivery service facilitated by the store’s staff of personal shoppers has been positive, according to Brian Wolf of Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC. Fueled by this positive feedback, Wolf reports that approximately 800 stores in 100 cities across the U.S. will offer the grocery delivery service by the end of 2018.
“Like Ford, Walmart believes that self-driving vehicles have an important role to play in the future of delivery, and that true success comes from first learning how individuals want to use them in their daily lives,” said Wolf. “Together, we’ll be using research vehicles, designed to simulate an autonomous experience, to gather crucial data about consumer preferences and learn the best way we can conveniently connect people with the goods they need.”
In order to make the partnership with Walmart successful, Ford will be assessing how Walmart does business, how its operations can adapt to the delivery of perishable food and how to handle a vehicle’s multiple stop-schedule. Through this research, Ford will be able to make any necessary automotive alterations to facilitate the new delivery partnership.
“We’re confident that working with Walmart will strengthen our effort to successfully deploy self-driving vehicles in a way that people actually want to experience — whether they’re ordering takeout, groceries or anything else they might need,” Wolf added.
This article is presented by McRee Ford in Dickinson, Texas.