Technology/Services

Walmart Pilots Driverless Delivery in Houston

Retailer partnering with Nuro for service
Walmart delivery
Photograph courtesy of Walmart

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart and robotics company Nuro are collaborating to bring grocery delivery to Houston-based customers. The pilot program will offer a delivery option to a select group of Walmart customers in Houston through Nuro’s autonomous vehicles.

“Walmart is committed to serving our customers whenever and however they choose to shop,” said Tom Ward, Walmart’s senior vice president of digital operations. “We are excited to work with Nuro and continue to learn as we are incorporating self-driving technology in our delivery options, learning more about our customers’ needs and evolving Walmart’s future delivery offerings.”

In the coming months, the autonomous delivery service will be available to Houston customers who have opted into the program. The service will use R2, Nuro’s custom-built delivery vehicle that carries only products with no onboard driver or passengers, in addition to autonomous Toyota Priuses, all powered by Nuro’s proprietary self-driving software and hardware.

“Walmart’s dedication to its customers aligns with our desire to help people save time and money while making shopping easier. We are excited to join forces with Walmart to help provide the best possible delivery experience to customers,” said Cosimo Leipold, Nuro’s head of partner relations. “Working alongside Walmart gives us an incredible opportunity to improve our door-to-door operations, serve Walmart’s loyal customers, and continue to integrate and engage with the Houston community.”

Walmart grocery delivery service includes fresh produce, meat, seafood and bakery items, along with pantry staples, consumables and select general merchandise. The service initially will be available to a select group of participants who have chosen to opt in to the service. The service is slated to expand to the public later in 2020.

Mountain View, Calif.-based Nuro is a robotics company that develops and operates a fleet of self-driving vehicles delivering local goods of all kinds, from dinner to dry cleaning. The company began making driverless deliveries to the public in 2018. Nuro has raised more than $1 billion in financing from investors such as Softbank and Greylock and shares partnerships with leading brands such as Walmart, Domino's and Kroger.

Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart Inc. has more than 11,300 stores under 58 banners in 27 countries and online.

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