Walmart will chauffeur shoppers in self-driving Waymo cars

Walmart shoppers in Chandler, Arizona will glimpse the future of transportation later this week when the mega-retaile...

Posted: Jul 25, 2018 3:09 PM
Updated: Jul 25, 2018 3:09 PM

Walmart shoppers in Chandler, Arizona will glimpse the future of transportation later this week when the mega-retailer starts chauffeuring customers in Waymo's autonomous cars.

An exclusive group of customers who place grocery orders through Walmart.com will catch a ride from their home to the store in one of Waymo's self-driving Chrysler Pacifica vans. They won't even have to leave the air-conditioned comfort of the car, because a Walmart employee will bring their order to them.

The pilot program, which is limited to Chandler for now, includes deals on groceries, but Walmart declined to elaborate on the details. Walmart is footing the bill for the program, but did not disclose terms of the deal.

"The purpose of all of this: to learn," Tom Ward, vice president of e-commerce operations at Walmart, said in a blog post. "While giving customers a unique experience with amazing technology, we're learning how we can make Walmart online grocery pickup even more convenient."

The partnership provides a peek into the future of transportation. Autonomous vehicles are expected to dramatically reduce transportation costs, leading experts in that field to believe businesses will happily pay to have self-driving cars bring customers to them.

It's also another example of Walmart and Google working together against Amazon, which recently introduced two-hour Prime delivery in certain cities.

Related: How free self-driving car rides could change everything

For now, only the 400 people in Waymo's early access program can participate in the program. Walmart and Waymo declined to comment on how long the pilot might last, and whether it might be expanded to other customers in Chandler and other cities in the Copper State.

Arizona has been an enthusiastic early adopter of autonomous vehicles, and lawmakers have made a point of welcoming the tech firms and automakers developing the technology.

Several local businesses have joined them in embracing self-driving cars. Even as Walmart was making its announcement Wednesday, a Phoenix-area shopping center said it will use Waymo vans to chauffeur customers to and from its stores. And customers having their cars serviced at AutoNation in Phoenix will have the option of riding about in one of Waymo's vans instead of a loaner car.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 144544

Reported Deaths: 3729
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto956999
Hinds9541193
Harrison6825105
Jackson6068116
Rankin523796
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Forrest367185
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Marshall207247
Leflore200789
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Lincoln183964
Warren172157
Tate163349
Union160125
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Scott149929
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Clay86726
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Noxubee69017
Smith68616
Yalobusha67926
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Humphreys52518
Amite50814
Benton48217
Quitman4786
Webster41614
Kemper40815
Wilkinson38422
Jefferson34011
Franklin3185
Sharkey30617
Choctaw3057
Issaquena1114
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 234080

Reported Deaths: 3459
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson30620491
Mobile19306358
Tuscaloosa12501148
Madison12410146
Montgomery12040232
Shelby980576
Baldwin826984
Lee753964
Morgan618247
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Marshall581953
Houston507038
DeKalb463535
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Walker349096
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Colbert296341
Jackson291924
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Franklin244833
Coffee233415
Dale226654
Dallas220231
Russell21803
Chilton216937
Covington212533
Escambia194431
Tallapoosa169290
Chambers168048
Pike155514
Clarke155419
Marion134535
Winston123723
Lawrence122436
Geneva11748
Marengo116924
Barbour116110
Pickens115318
Bibb114217
Butler113741
Randolph99821
Cherokee98924
Hale91631
Washington90018
Clay89423
Fayette84416
Henry8426
Lowndes78729
Monroe76811
Cleburne74414
Crenshaw70330
Macon70020
Bullock69019
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Perry6686
Lamar6267
Wilcox62418
Sumter55322
Choctaw41713
Greene40217
Coosa3074
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