Ford believes that the advent of self-driving vehicles opens up the potential to ease some of life’s pain points and markedly expand affordable access to transportation and goods delivery.
Ford is collaborating with both national and local companies to understand how the company can improve goods delivery through the use of self-driving vehicles. Ford is exploring how grocery delivery can help expand access to fresh food and other retail items for people all over the country, including in Miami-Dade County, where they are currently putting their comprehensive self-driving business operations to the test.
Walmart has seen customers respond positively to its grocery delivery option, which uses the company’s trained personal shoppers to select fresh produce and other groceries for orders that are then fulfilled through Postmates and its other delivery networks. By the end of this year, that option will be available in 800 stores across 100 metropolitan areas around the country. Next year, the number of stores offering delivery service is expected to double.
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. Together, the two companies will be using research vehicles, designed to simulate an autonomous experience, to gather crucial data about consumer preferences and learn the best way they can conveniently connect people with the goods they need.
Over the next couple of months, Ford will be working closely with Walmart to understand its operations, identify what goods can be feasibly transported, and pinpoint any issues that may need to be addressed to successfully deliver orders via self-driving vehicles.
Naturally, orders from a supermarket will tend to be larger and more varied than orders from a restaurant or dry cleaner. So Ford will be exploring different vehicle configurations or modifications that the company could make to meet people’s needs , especially to accommodate perishable goods, or scenarios where the vehicles end up making multiple deliveries on a single trip.
Ford is confident that working with Walmart will strengthen their 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.
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