Walmart will begin to use autonomous electric cars to deliver groceries

Your Walmart groceries might soon be delivered via an autonomous vehicle thanks to the retail giant’s new partnership with Nuro. 

The retail giant announced the new service along with autonomous vehicle company Nuro in a blog post on Tuesday. The pilot program kicks off in Houston in the coming weeks and will deliver groceries using Nuro’s self-driving technology and fleet of electric vehicles. 

“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, in the official press release. “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.”

The new program will use Nuro’s custom-built R2, a fully electric, low-speed delivery vehicle that is built to carry only products without a driver or passengers. The service will also deploy autonomous Toyota Priuses that will use Nuro’s self-driving technology to deliver Walmart grocery products. 

While neither company mentioned specific plans for the autonomous delivery program’s expansion beyond Houston, the press release stated that the service would expand to the general public in Houston sometime next year. 

This partnership is the latest effort by Walmart to step into the growing trend of grocery and food delivery. In September, Walmart expanded its Delivery Unlimited program to more than 200 additional metro areas throughout the country. The service costs Walmart shoppers $98 a year (or $13 a month) and delivers fresh groceries straight to their door with a waived delivery fee on online orders over $30. 

According to Walmart’s blog announcing the Nuro pilot program, there are currently 3,100 grocery pickup locations and more than 1,600 stores that offer grocery delivery. 

Nuro also delivers food and groceries in conjunction with major partners like Domino’s and the grocery store chain Kroger. 

Digital Trends reached out to Walmart and Nuro for further comment and to find out when/if the pilot program would expand to other cities. We will update this story once we hear back. 

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