Ford and Walmart are working together to launch a robotic delivery service in three US cities, using autonomous test vehicles equipped with sensors and software developed by Argo AI. Customers living in Miami, Austin, and Washington who order items from Walmart online and live in a specific geographic area may be eligible for delivery of their items by Ford / Argo vehicle.
The companies plan to start "completion tests" for the delivery service within the year, with plans to expand the geographical areas over time. Autonomous delivery is considered a potentially lucrative market, with online grocery shopping increasing fivefold over the next decade and American consumers spending more than $ 100 billion on home-made food by 2025, according to a recent report.
Ford has been experimenting with robotic delivery for many years. In 2018, it announced a grocery delivery pilot with Walmart and Postmates. The automaker also helped Domino deliver pizzas using its standalone vehicles.
There are still many obstacles to be solved. Vehicles will require human screens, both behind the wheel and from remote control centers, so any potential job savings are far away. Customers will have to take their orders from the vehicles, which could cause problems for elderly and disabled customers, as well as people who live in apartment buildings and have get used to it to receive them orders at their door.
Delivery is just one aspect of Ford's plan to commercialize autonomous vehicles. The automaker recently announced that it is working with Lyft to develop robot taxis in the same three cities before the end of the year.
Source of information: theverge.com