The three companies noted that the service will be available on a limited basis to Walmart customers who reside in defined areas of the three US cities.
Tom Ward, Walmart’s vice president for home delivery, said in a statement that the grocery company is “excited” about expanding its self-service efforts in all three cities.
Ward added that the collaboration will reinforce its mission to bring products into its customers’ homes “at unrivaled speed.”
For his part, the founder and CEO of Argo AI, Bryan Salesky, said that the agreement is the materialization of the company’s focus on “testing and developing autonomous driving technology that operates in urban areas where customer demand is high.” .
The agreement involves Argo AI’s cloud-based infrastructure integrating with the online shopping platform of Walmart, the largest supermarket chain in the United States, to channel orders and schedule deliveries to customers’ homes.
Scott Griffith, CEO of Ford’s autonomous vehicle business unit, called the agreement with Argo AI and Walmart “a significant step forward” in expanding the scale of commercial product delivery.
Ford and Walmart launched an autonomous vehicle pilot program in 2018.
In addition, Walmart currently operates another pilot program based on driverless vehicles produced by Cruise, the autonomous vehicle unit of General Motors (GM). Walmart also has a stake in Cruise.
Ford has established other driverless home delivery pilots with companies like pizza chain Domino’s and Postmates.
Additionally, Ford and Argo AI have an agreement with taxi service Lyft to launch an autonomous service later this year in Miami and Austin.