Following favorable legislation recently passed in the state, Walmart has tapped autonomous vehicle company Gatik to launch a grocery delivery pilot in Arkansas. Under this pilot, Walmart will test the use of autonomous vehicles for customer grocery delivery, though the pilot will be restricted to a small region in Bentonville.
It’s inevitable that the future will involve self-driving vehicles offering a variety of services to the public — taxis, shuttles, and, of course, product deliveries. Walmart has announced a new pilot test that will take place around two stores in Bentonville, Arkansas, and involve self-driving vehicles from Gatik.
Walmart SVP of Digital Operations in the US, Tom Ward, explained, ‘We aim to learn more about the logistics of adding autonomous vehicles into our online grocery ecosystem, operation process changes and more opportunities to incorporate this emerging technology.’
The autonomous vehicles will operate under this pilot on a two-mile route between two Bentonville Walmart stores. The company didn’t provide additional details on this plan, such as when these autonomous deliveries will begin, though it likely won’t have any sort of impact on the customers who get their groceries delivered this way.
This isn’t the first time Walmart has explored the use of self-driving technology in relation to its delivery services. The company has heavily expanded its Prime-like offerings and introduced grocery pickup and delivery services in a big way this year — something that has seen unprecedented demand under the pandemic.