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Ford partners with Walmart for autonomous deliveries

by Justin King

The pilot program is initially limited to Miami-Dade County in Florida.

Ford has teamed up with Walmart and Postmates to explore how autonomous vehicles can be used for deliveries.

Walmart has been collaborating with several tech firms as it attempts to better compete with online rival Amazon. Existing partnerships include a project with Waymo that uses autonomous cars to bring customers to stores for order pickup.

Ford's partnership goes one step further, essentially using autonomous cars to pick up an order and deliver to a home without requiring the customer to tag along for the ride.

Postmates already helps Walmart deliver produce and other groceries. The service will be available in 800 stores across 100 metropolitan areas by the end of the year.

"Like Ford, Walmart believes that self-driving vehicles have an important role to play in the future of delivery, and that true success comes from first learning how individuals want to use them in their daily lives," says Ford's director of autonomous vehicle business development.

For now, the autonomous vehicles will presumably have a human safety driver behind the wheel until Ford's self-driving platform is ready for independent operation.