Walmart teams up with GM’s Cruise to test grocery delivery with self-driving cars

Program will take place in Scottsdale, Ariz
Walmart announced Tuesday that the company has joined forces with self-driving car company Cruise to test out autonomous grocery delivery in Arizona.

Under the program, customers in Scottsdale will be able to order from their local Walmart store and have it delivered via one of Cruise’s all-electric self-driving cars beginning early next year, according to Tom Ward, Walmart’s senior vice president of customer product. Cruise is a subsidiary of General Motors.

Ward said the vehicles will not only save time but they also use 100% renewable energy. The company, which has been outspoken about its sustainability efforts, said using these vehicles will help support Walmart’s goal of reaching zero emissions by 2040.

A customer wearing a mask shops at a Walmart supermarket amid the coronavirus outbreak on July 16, 2020 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Zeng Jingning/China News Service via Getty Images)
Walmart’s latest test program allows the retailer to further tap into the on-demand food delivery market, a service that has surged since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. It also gives the company the ability to effectively compete with rival Amazon as they race to increase their market share in one of the fastest-growing e-commerce sectors.

However, this isn’t the first time the major retailer is dipping its toe in on-demand delivery. Last year, Walmart partnered with Silicon Valley autonomous vehicle startup Nuro to assist with grocery deliveries.

“You’ve seen us test drive with self-driving cars in the past, and we’re continuing to learn a lot about how they can shape the future of retail,” Ward said.

Aside from cars, the company also began testing drone technology. Last month, Walmart announced it was testing the new method of delivery to homes in North Carolina just after Amazon was granted approval by the Federal Aviation Administration to deliver packages by drones.

Amazon didn’t specify when it would utilize the technology to deliver goods on a large scale.