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Walmart piloting new autonomous vehicle program into Louisiana in 2021

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Posted at 9:16 PM, Dec 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-25 22:16:35-05

Louisiana will soon be a second test location for a Walmart autonomous vehicle pilot program, the company announced in a news release last week.

Walmart began a new program with autonomous vehicle company Gatik last year in Arkansas, and after seeing success on a small scale, the companies are ready to take the next step in expanding their driverless reach.

A similar program will begin in Louisiana in 2021 - but this time the companies will test a longer route and a second use case. This means items will be delivered from a Supercenter to a Walmart pickup point, a designated location where customers can pick up their orders away from an actual Walmart store.

The 20-mile route will operate between New Orleans and Metarie, and will launch early next year. Initially, the vehicles will operate with a safety driver.

WATCH how Walmart, Gatik's autonomous vehicles work below:

Walmart says it hopes the test will unlock the opportunity for customers who live further away from a store to benefit from their pickup service.

The program that debuted in Arkansas last year successfully completed 70,000 operational miles with a safety driver on a two-mile route between a dark store, a store that stocks items for fulfillment but isn't open to the public, and a Neighborhood Market in Bentonville. The successful test prompted Walmart and Gatik to take the next step - taking the route completely driverless in Arkansas.

Read more from Walmart here.

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