Shopping Centers Today

SEP 2018

Shopping Centers Today is the news magazine of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)

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T H E C O M M O N A R E A I N N OVAT I O N & T E C H N O LO GY A utonomous-vehicle manufacturer Waymo will test shuttle services at a DDR-owned shopping center and a Walmart store in Phoenix this summer. Waymo, which is owned by Google parent Alphabet Inc., will use its self-driving Chrysler vans to ferry consumers to Walmart stores after they buy items on the retailer's website. For DDR Corp., Waymo will offer rides to and from the company's Ahwatu- kee Foothills Towne Center. "DDR's senior vice president of IT [Kim Scharf ] has a relationship with Google and ultimately was able to set up and build a relationship with Waymo, and we were able to strike this arrangement," DDR President and CEO David Lukes said on a conference call. DDR will use lessons learned to prepare more of its properties for self-driving cars. "The venture is already helping us to better under- stand how evolving transportation technology will affect the design and usage of our centers," said Executive Vice President and COO Michael Makinen. Waymo also signed a deal with Element Hotels to offer shuttles for guests around Phoenix. Moreover, the company is expanding existing partnerships in Phoenix with AutoNation and Avis Bud- get Group. Waymo says it plans to begin a paid self-driving ser- vice in Phoenix by the end of this year. n SELF-DRIVING CAR SHUT TLES TESTED Walmart's new bot Walmart is set to launch a pilot using first-of-its- kind automation called Alphabot to help asso- ciates fill online grocery orders faster than ever before. "Our online grocery service is already a huge hit with customers, allowing them to quickly and conveniently order groceries online, select a pickup time and have those groceries delivered to their car in minutes," said Mark Ibbotson, executive vice president of central operations, Walmart U.S. "Alphabot will work behind the scenes to make the process even easier by auto- matically bringing items from storage to associ- ates who will consolidate the items in the order. For our pickup associates, that means less time walking the store aisles in search of products and more time ensuring customers are getting the absolute best in fresh produce, meats, et cetera." The Alphabot system, developed especially for Walmart, is being installed at the supercenter in Salem, N.H., as a part of the store's grand reopening. A 20,000-square-foot extension connected to the store houses the new system and will serve as a dedicated grocery pickup point with drive-thru lanes for customers. When completed, automated mobile carts will retrieve ordered items — stored warehouse-style in this new space — then deliver them to our associ- ates at one of four pick stations. Walmart plans to have Alphabot online and running by the end of the year. "Although this is a small pilot, we expect big things from it," Ibbotson said. "We have a lot to learn about this new technology, and we're excited about the possibilities of how we can use it to make the future of shopping — and working — even better. n 14 S C T / S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 8

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