Walmart has tapped General Motors subsidiary Cruise for a new pilot test that’ll involve delivering goods to customers using self-driving electric vehicles. The autonomous EV deliveries will only be available to a small number of Walmart customers, but the pilot underscores the interest in self-driving vehicles and their potential use in a variety of industries.
Walmart announced the new plan on Tuesday, stating that it is ‘experimenting’ with technologies that may be used by the company in a more widespread fashion in the future. The self-driving car pilot with Cruise will kick off next year in Scottsdale, Arizona, where customers will have the opportunity to get their orders delivered by an autonomous electric vehicle.
This isn’t the first time Walmart has tested self-driving cars, but it notes that Cruise is the only company at this time to have a full fleet of autonomous electric cars powered using entirely renewable energy. This, Walmart says, is in line with its goal of hitting zero emissions by 2040, which the company announced back in September.
Things won’t change much for customers — Walmart says that orders will be placed from their local store like usual, the only difference being that it will be delivered in an electric car that can drive itself. These will be contact-free deliveries, but no additional details were provided.
Walmart is one of the multiple companies testing the use of self-driving cars as part of their business. Pizza company Domino’s, for example, revealed last year that it would use Nuro’s fleet of self-driving cars to test deliveries in Houston. There are other uses for this technology, too — last year, PepsiCo introduced ‘snackbots’ that autonomously deliver snack goods to college students.