The big-box retailer will use hybrid Ford Escape SUVs augmented with Argo’s AI technology. Ford invested $1 billion in Argo in 2017 and Volkswagen (VWAGY) invested $2.6 billion in 2020. The automakers, which have other alliances, control Argo.
Initial integration testing in Miami, Austin, Texas, and Washington, D.C. is slated to begin later this year. The companies said that the autonomous delivery service will be available at first within defined service areas of the three cities and will expand over time.
“This collaboration will further our mission to get products to the homes of our customers with unparalleled speed and ease, and in turn, will continue to pave the way for autonomous delivery,” said Tom Ward, a senior VP of last-mile delivery at Walmart, in a statement.
Argo and Ford have teamed up on other autonomous services including developing autonomous ride-hailing services through Lyft (LYFT) also in Miami.
Autonomous Vehicle Delivery Demand Grows
Walmart shares were little changed soon after the open on the stock market today. Walmart stock is consolidating into a base with a 153.76 entry point, according to MarketSmith analysis. But WMT stock recently fell below its 50-day line, a sign of weakness.
Ford stock dipped 0.1%, trading below its 50-day line and above its 200-day line. VW stock rose 1%, just below its 50-day line.
Last-mile delivery is the final step in the supply chain, getting the product to the consumer. It is also the most expensive. Companies have been looking at ways to cut costs as delivery demand for consumer products and groceries soared during the Covid-19 pandemic.
There is also a driver shortage for riding hailing and delivery services like Postmates.
But safety remains a huge risk for autonomous vehicle services.
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