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Walmart brings autonomous grocery deliveries to Houston

It teamed up with San Francisco startup Nuro as part of the project.

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Walmart is trying out self-driving shipments.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Walmart is testing new ways to deliver your milk, eggs and bread using self-driving vehicles.

The world's largest retailer said Tuesday it has teamed up with Nuro, a Mountain View, California-based autonomous vehicle startup, to pilot grocery deliveries in Houston. Nuro, founded in 2016, has already raised $1 billion in funding, according to Crunchbase. It has previously partnered with Domino's for pizza deliveries and Kroger for grocery deliveries.

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A look at grocery deliveries via a Nuro vehicle.

Walmart

Walmart, which is the biggest grocer in the US, in the past year unveiled partnerships with Ford and Gatik to test self-driving grocery shipments.

This work continues Walmart's experiments with online orders and grocery deliveries, with the retailer also offering a service in which someone enters your home and puts your groceries right into your fridge. With tons of competition in the grocery industry and Amazon aggressively working to grow in this market, Walmart is likely trying to figure out the future of grocery sales before someone else does.

Amazon in October did away with its $14.99 monthly fee for its Amazon Fresh grocery delivery program for Prime members, undercutting Walmart's new Delivery Unlimited service, which costs $12.95 a month.

But so far, most US customers are happy to still go to the store, with online grocery services accounting for just 3% of total sales, according to management consultancy Bain & Co. Walmart has seen more success with its curbside grocery pickup service, which it has expanded to 3,100 pickup locations.

Amazon has also been testing autonomous deliveries, including flying drones and roving Scout robots. Meanwhile, the startup Starship has also been bringing self-driving robots to US college campuses.