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Self-Driving Cars May Help When You Have No Time To Shop *or* Drive

Sure, curbside grocery pickup is a slam dunk, but how about letting self-driving cars do the heavy, er, driving?

Walmart and Waymo (formerly known as Google Self-Driving Car Project) are slated to begin a test pilot in the next week that gives early riders (residents in parts of the Phoenix area who have everyday access to Waymo’s self-driving vehicles) savings on groceries each week when they are ordered on Walmart.com. While orders are being prepared at the store, self-driving Waymo vehicles in Chandler, AZ will transport the rider to and from the mega store to pick up their haul.

Click, Buy, Ride

According to Walmart, the process if fairly simple: those in the pilot program simply place an online grocery pickup order at walmart.com/grocery. The big box store’s personal shoppers get to work picking customers’ orders based on their pickup times. Then, Waymo steps in to transport customers to and from pickup, and "all the while, those customers can text, nap, work… you name it."

In a release, the tech company says, "We know from our early riders that most of their rides are to run errands, shop for groceries, commute to work, head to dinner or fix their personal vehicles. We’ve tailored our partnerships to meet the top rider needs. In fact, the partnerships below represent eight of the top 10 activities our riders do when they get in a Waymo."

In an email to reporters at NPR, the early riders will receive incentives to participate in the pilot and the rides in the self-driving cars will be provided with no extra fee.

Getting a Lift in the AZ

Waymo launched its early rider program in April of last year, and now gives rides to more than 400 riders around the Phoenix area every day. The company has bold plans for the future, too. It recently announced a partnership with Jaguar to create the world’s first premium electric self-driving vehicle: the Jaguar I-PACE.

From grocery pickups to sleek cars of the future, autonomous vehicle technology keeps surging forward.

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