Ford, Walmart to Work on Self-Driving Delivery Vehicles
The American companies Ford and Walmart will soon begin working together to design a delivery service that uses self-driving vehicles.
The project grew out of the car company Ford's efforts to develop businesses that could use self-driving delivery vehicles. Ford has already been working with the delivery company Postmates to develop the service.
Ford said its new project with Walmart will take place in and around Miami, Florida. The project will deliver goods ordered at Walmart stores through Postmates.
It will begin with human-driven vehicles to see how a self-driving vehicle would behave. Ford has said it expects to launch wider production of self-driving vehicles by 2021.
Brian Wolf is with Ford's self-driving vehicle group. He wrote in a blog post that the companies will test to see which goods, especially groceries, can be delivered successfully.
In a statement, Tom Ward of Walmart said, "Before self-driving cars can go mainstream, we must get a better sense of how people want to interact with them."
That may require new designs or equipment for the self-driving vehicles. Wolf said that Ford is designing storage systems on the vehicles for customers to receive goods and groceries.
Walmart has more stores around the United States than any other company. It is competing with Amazon.com and other online companies to deliver goods.
The use of self-driving delivery vehicles instead of human-driven ones could reduce costs for Walmart. But self-driving technology remains costly, and the industry is still waiting for rules to be set by local governments.
I'm Mario Ritter.