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Ford Will Partner with Walmart for Self-Driving Grocery Delivery Service

Ford Motor Co. is partnering with Walmart to figure out how self-driving vehicles might be used for delivering groceries. The automaker announced it would leverage an existing partnership with Postmates to study how to best use robotic vehicles for grocery delivery. Postmates has a network of couriers that deliver almost anything locally on-demand and has been a Walmart grocery delivery partner.

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“Before self-driving cars can go mainstream, we must get a better sense of how people want to interact with them,” Walmart said according to the Detroit Free Press.  “Together, we will gather crucial data to learn the best way to bring items to the customer. There’s no telling what innovation the future will bring, but Walmart is committed to straying on the forefront of change to make getting groceries simple, quick, and easy.”

Walmart has more than 5,000 Sam’s Club and Walmart locations in the U.S. The retail giant expects to expand delivery options to 800 stores in 100 U.S. metropolitan areas by the end of the year. The heart of Ford’s research will start in Miami-Dade County, where the automaker has spent nearly a year testing and building out a business model for the autonomous vehicle fleets it plans to launch in 2021.

Research and develop your input (3-5 pages) by responding to the following questions. For each of the three questions, develop your argument, logic, and provide your recommendations.

1. If Ford and Walmart successfully finalize their self-driving grocery service vehicle pilot, what are the implications and effect of such service to the rival service delivery such as Amazon.com, which recently has acquired Whole Foods Market using actual drivers for their grocery deliveries?

2. If the Ford-Walmart self-driving grocery service vehicle receives the approval from the regulators and lawmakers, what impact does it sustain to traditional and non-delivery grocery retail sector?

3. Should regulators and lawmakers approve the Ford-Walmart self-driving grocery service vehicles for the business operation, what behavioral shift would it suggest to the traditional grocery shopping model?