Walmart to transport shoppers in self-driving cars

Some of Walmart’s online grocery pickup shoppers are entitled to a new perk — a lift back home.

Through a partnership with Waymo, Google’s self-driving car project, Walmart is launching a pilot that will use Waymo vehicles to transport customers to and from a local store to pick up their groceries. The pilot, which is conducted out of one Walmart store in Chandler, Arizona, is being tested among a group of Waymo’s 400 daily users.

Pilot customers place an online grocery pickup order, and Walmart’s personal shoppers fulfill the order based on their designated pickup times. Waymo then transports customers to and from pickup.

“The purpose of all of this [is] to learn,” Tom Ward, VP, digital operations, Walmart U.S., said on its website.

“While giving customers a unique experience with amazing technology, we’re learning how we can make Walmart Online Grocery Pickup even more convenient,” he added. “Waymo’s experience, industry leading technology and mission on safety is helping us enter this space in the right way.”

Walmart offers online grocery pickup in 1,500 locations, and plans to add “hundreds more” stores this year, the company reported.

This is also not Walmart’s first partnership with Google. The discount giant has hundreds of thousands of items available for voice shopping via Google Assistant, the search giant's online shopping platform that lives on its smart speaker Google Home and other smart devices.