Walmart to test self-driving vehicle grocery delivery

A robot could deliver your food in three Houston-based ZIP codes

Walmart will start testing self-driving vehicles in Houston in an effort to expand grocery delivery options, the retail giant announced Tuesday.

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Walmart has partnered with Silicon Valley autonomous vehicle startup Nuro, and the two companies plan to combine their efforts to bring innovation and affordability together in what Walmart said was a "natural extension" of its grocery delivery service, according to a press release.

Walmart corporate communications director Ragan Dickens told FOX Business that the autonomous vehicle pilot "will span three Houston-based zipcodes": 77096, 77035 and 77401.

"The service will be available at the Walmart Neighborhood Market at 9700 Hillcroft St location," Dickens added. The service is expected to launch in 2020.

"Our unparalleled size and scale have allowed us to steer grocery delivery to the front doors of millions of families – and design a roadmap for the future of the industry," Walmart said in a statement.

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"Along the way, we've been test-driving a number of different options for getting groceries from our stores to our customers' front doors through self-driving technology. We believe this technology is a natural extension of our Grocery Pickup and Delivery service and our goal of making every day a little easier for customers," the statement continued.

As of the end of 2019, the retail giant has nearly 3,100 pickup locations, which get deliveries from nearly 1,600 stores. The store has also hired more than 50,000 "personal shoppers" who help Walmart's millions of customers, according to the press release.

Nuro describes is autonomous vehicles as "neighborhood-friendly" in a Tuesday announcement published to Medium.

"By creating an affordable, neighborhood-friendly, and convenient way for customers to get their deliveries on demand, Walmart and Nuro aim to build a better supply chain together. We're looking forward to launching our service in the coming weeks, and we can't wait to learn how we can help improve the shopping experience," the post reads.

Softbank Vision Fund invested nearly $1 billion in the driverless vehicle startup in February.

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