Walmart to Test Self-Driving Shuttles

The trial service will take Arizona shoppers to Walmart stores for online order pickup.

July 27, 2018

PHOENIX – This summer, Walmart and DDR Corp. are partnering with Waymo on a pilot program that will take shoppers in self-driving minivans to Walmart stores, Bloomberg reports. Phoenix customers who order from Walmart online can take the free shuttles to pick up their products. For shopping mall operator DDR, Waymo will provide free rides to and from one of its outlets.

“While these are metro Phoenix-specific partnerships today, these businesses are national, and what we learn from these programs will give us a network of partners when we launch in new cities down the road,” Waymo said in a statement about the partnerships. Walmart and DDR are paying Waymo for the service but aren’t charging customers for the rides.

Meanwhile, Uber will return self-driving cars to Pittsburgh, but the cars will run in manual mode with drivers behind the wheel, Media Post reports. After an Uber self-driving car was involved in an Arizona traffic fatality earlier this year, Uber stopped its public testing. “After the tragedy in Tempe, we launched a top-to-bottom review of our self-driving program with a focus on safety,” stated Eric Meyhofer, head of Uber Advanced Technologies Group.

For the Pittsburgh trial, “mission specialists” will operate the cars. “Mission specialists undergo extensive training to operate self-driving vehicles on our test track and on public roads,” said Meyhofer.