US retail giant Walmart has revealed that it is running a pilot with the technology company Gatik to test the use of an autonomous delivery vehicle in Arkansas.
In a statement posted on the Walmart website last week, Tom Ward, Senior Vice President, Digital Operations, Walmart US, said: “In March, Arkansas passed legislation allowing for autonomous vehicles to operate in the state. With the help of Gatik, we’re making sure we stay on the cutting edge of grocery pickup by testing an autonomous vehicle to move customer orders on a two-mile route in Bentonville between two of our stores. We aim to learn more about the logistics of adding autonomous vehicles into our online grocery ecosystem, operation process changes and more opportunities to incorporate this emerging technology.”
Ward also said: “We’ve been exploring a few pilot projects with self-driving car companies that include both customer delivery as well as transporting goods between our locations.”
Transporting goods between stores (the focus of the Arkansas pilot with Gatik) is sometimes described as the ‘middle mile’ segment of the delivery cycle.