Will your next online purchase from Walmart arrive at your home via an AI (artificially intelligent) driven robo vehicle? If you live in one of three cities Walmart has targeted for the experiment, then you might become part of ground breaking research to change the way our deliveries work in the future.
Residents of Austin, Miami, and Washington DC are slated for the test marketing to take place this year, with tentative plans to expand into other geographic areas. Walmart is partnering with Ford and Argo to try out the robo vehicle technology that former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos predicts will be a game changer, which could potentially be worth 35 Amazons he said, putting it in the trillion dollar mark.
All is not as futuristic as it sounds yet, since currently the “robo” vehicles will still require monitoring by humans, both behind the wheel and from a local command center. As a result, labor savings won’t be a factor any time soon. But partners and investors are hoping to cash in on the trend in increased online grocery shopping, which is expected to grow five times in the next decade. American consumers are predicted to spend upward of $100 billion on food-at-home items by 2025.
Other challenges remain. Customers would have to retrieve their own deliveries from the vehicle, which could pose difficulties for elderly or disabled individuals, or residents of multi-story buildings – a negative for users accustomed to packages arriving conveniently at their doorstep.
Nevertheless, automakers like Ford and GM are forging ahead with their AI vehicle technology and test programs. Ford launched a grocery delivery pilot with Walmart in 2018 and has also experimented in pizza delivery with Domino’s. Ford is planning to partner with Lyft to try out a robo taxi service in the same three cities by the end of this year. Ford and Argo have already been testing their fourth-generation autonomous vehicles in Pittsburgh, Detroit, and parts of California.
Will robo vehicles be the delivery method of the future? As consumers wonder how this technology will develop, the definitive question is: does this mean we don’t have to give the delivery vehicle a tip? Read the entire article here: https://www.theverge.com/2021/9/15/22674330/ford-walmart-argo-autonomous-delivery-miami-austin-dc