Ford and Postmates Will Test Autonomous Delivery Vehicles

Ford revs up self-driving car and smart city plans

The new partnerships come as Ford is gearing to "test-drive" a new self-driving business model this quarter in an as-yet unnamed city.

Ford has announced a new partnership with the delivery service Postmates centered around the self-driving vehicle sector.

In addition to new partner Postmates, Ford will be testing further with existing partners Lyft and Domino's, and already it's gleaned some insights from the latter two, including learning that many of its early users of the Domino's autonomous delivery service say "bye" to the driverless auto and enjoy interacting with its voice powered instructions interface.

The companies suggested that self-driving vehicles could particularly help smaller businesses and customers in harder-to-reach locations.

Jim Farley, president of Global Markets, Ford Motor Company (L) talks with Jim Hackett, CEO of Ford during the Ford keynote at CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. January 9, 2018.

Ford revs up self-driving car and smart city plans
Ford will begin testing its business model for autonomous vehicles in 2018

Through this study, Ford plans to get a better understanding of how customers will want to interact with delivery vehicles and what neighborhoods they'll feel safe walking out to the curb to retrieve a meal. Uber Technologies agreed to purchase 24,000 self-driving cars from Volvo previous year.

However, Postmates did point out that it is not looking to eradicate the human factor from its delivery equation: "While we're excited to research the potential of self-driving technology, it's important to note that our walkers, drivers, and bicyclists make up the largest on-demand delivery fleet in the country - and they will always be core to our platform".

Ford will expand its self-driving technology development with a growing fleet of Argo AI test vehicles in a city where it plans to first deploy an autonomous vehicle business.

Ford will also work with Silicon Valley transportation software company Autonomic to build a cloud-based platform for base processes, such as payment methods or identity verification.

Ford is the latest vehicle company that wants to deliver your takeout in a self-driving auto. The key for making profit, Farley said, is keeping the cars moving. He announced a partnership with Postmates and mentioned Ford's collaborations with Domino's and Lyft.

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