Global retailer Walmart has partnered with US automaker Ford Motor to explore grocery delivery with self-driving cars.

The partnership will see the launch of a pilot programme in Miami-Dade County, Florida, to test autonomous grocery delivery to customers.

Postmates, which is already a partner of both Ford and Walmart, is serving as the delivery partner for this pilot programme.

Walmart US digital operations senior vice-president Tom Ward said: “Walmart and Ford agree autonomous vehicles have an important role to play as we consider the future of delivery.

“Before self-driving cars can go mainstream, we must get a better sense of how people want to interact with them. Together, we will gather crucial data to learn the best way to bring items to customers.

“Walmart and Ford agree autonomous vehicles have an important role to play as we consider the future of delivery.”

“There’s no telling what innovation the future will bring, but Walmart is committed to staying on the forefront of change to make getting groceries simple, quick and easy.”

In July this year, the retail giant started an online grocery pilot project with Waymo to explore the use of self-driving cars by customers for grocery shopping.

As part of the project, Walmart is offering Online Grocery Pickup service from its store in Chandler, Arizona to 400 daily users of Waymo.

In April this year, Walmart partnered with Postmates to expand its online grocery delivery programme to more than 40% of the US households.

In a statement, Ford Autonomous Vehicles Business Development director Brian Wolf said: “Over the next couple of months, we’ll be working closely with Walmart to understand its operations, identify what goods we can feasibly transport, and pinpoint any issues that may need to be addressed to successfully deliver orders via self-driving vehicles.”

He added: “We’re confident that working with Walmart will strengthen our effort to successfully deploy self-driving vehicles in a way that people actually want to experience — whether they’re ordering takeout, groceries or anything else they might need.”