Getting groceries these days is a rather scary chore. There is always that fear of getting exposed to infected shoppers. That’s why there are services now that will do the shopping for you (like Pick-A-Roo). But again, a major area of concern is interacting with the delivery guy who might have COVID-19. In the US, Ford might soon have one way of reducing human interaction when getting supplies from the supermarket.
The automaker is partnering with retail giant Walmart on a pilot project that will see autonomous vehicles doing door-to-door deliveries. A fleet of Escape crossovers will be fitted with self-driving equipment from specialist firm Argo AI. The cars will navigate busy streets using a combination of radar, LIDAR and proximity sensors, and cameras. The onboard computer will interface with a cloud-based map to determine the most efficient routing.
The service will be initially available to Walmart members in Miami (Florida), Austin (Texas) and Washington DC. As the test vehicles will be traveling in urban areas, it is very likely that there will be safety drivers onboard. The supermarket chain is confident that autonomous vehicles will be beneficial to its next-day and same-day delivery services.