Something to look forward to: Self-driving cars are getting increasingly sophisticated as of late, and as that happens, companies are looking for new ways to capitalize on the technology's potential. For Walmart, that means branching out from brick-and-mortar and online retail into the realm of automated product delivery as early as next year.
Since Walmart is hardly experienced with self-driving cars, the retail giant is partnering up with a major player in this industry: GM-backed autonomous car company Cruise.
The fruits of this partnership will come in the form of a limited pilot program that will let customers place orders for various Walmart products (grocery and non-grocery), and have those items delivered to their door by a self-driving vehicle.
The vehicles in question will be electric and 100 percent powered by renewable energy. Walmart says this is a small step toward its goal of reaching "zero emissions" company-wide by 2040.
Walmart's new pilot program will be starting out in Scottsdale, Arizona sometime in early 2021. However, if the test goes well, it could expand to other parts of the US as well.
This pilot is especially well-timed – the Covid-19 pandemic is still an ever-present threat, and demand for contact-free delivery options like this will likely only escalate over the coming months; even if a vaccine is developed soon.
We're not entirely sure how customers will be able to participate in this program, but Walmart will undoubtedly reveal that information (and more) next year.