The service will expand to the general public late in 2020, according to The Verge.
In total, Walmart’s online grocery footprint covers nearly 3,100 pickup locations with deliveries coming from more than 1,600 stores, powered by Walmart’s team of over 50,000 personal shoppers.
In the coming months, Houston residents who have opted into Nuro’s pilot service can get their groceries delivered from Walmart in either of the company’s two types of vehicles: a Toyota Prius equipped with self-driving hardware and software or the oversized lunchbox-looking R2.
Formed in 2016 by a pair of ex-Google self-driving engineers, Nuro received a $1 billion investment this year from Japanese tech company SoftBank.
Earlier this year, Nuro said it planned to increase its test fleet of standard cars fitted with self-driving hardware and software to about 50, which it will operate on public roads in California, Arizona and Texas with safety drivers behind the wheel. The data accumulated from these tests would then be fed into the company’s machine learning program that powers its driverless vehicles. Nuro now has 75 vehicles, according to The Verge.
The R2 vehicles aren’t completely unmonitored. Nuro uses chase vehicles with human drivers and remote technology to monitor each driverless vehicle as it makes deliveries.