Ford partners with Postmates on self-driving delivery pilot

Ford revs up self-driving car and smart city plans

Ford and Postmates are teaming up to deliver orders with self-driving cars

The two companies will specifically focus on how both merchants and customers react to the use of autonomous vehicles.

Postmates is the first on-demand delivery app to work with Ford in this capacity, and will test with the platform this year, including in a pilot in a new city to be announced later by Ford where it will test and eventually launch a self-driving vehicle fleet.

"Any time you are not carrying goods or people in this business you are not making money", Jim Farley, Ford's president of global markets, told a technology conference in Las Vegas (Reuters).

The program is created to help identify how Postmates can properly integrate with Ford's autonomous driving platform from a technical perspective, but it will also allow them to test things like user interface, interaction models and customer experience for autonomous on-demand delivery.

Uber Technologies agreed to purchase 24,000 self-driving cars from Volvo a year ago.

Tests are scheduled to begin by the end of March. Ford says its autonomous vehicles will start ferrying meals and groceries sometime this quarter, though there's no word yet on what city the service will debut in.

Postmates offers on-demand delivery from small businesses to area residents. One day earlier, Toyota teased a self-driving Pizza Hut and Amazon vehicle created to make deliveries and serve as a mobile store.

Speaking of communicating vehicles, Ford and Qualcomm are working together on a system called Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X), which will enable cars that have cellular chips to communicate with one another, as well as to a set of outside services.

These connected vehicles are the foundation for vehicle-to-everything (V2X) infrastructure, the company said, which would allow cars to communicate with each other as well as pedestrians, cyclists, and traffic lights.

For Ford, it highlights its interests into the operations of cities.

By connecting these elements, Ford believes congestion could decrease and cities will function better.

"A pedestrian equipped with a mobile phone could send signals to vehicles, highlighting their location for cars that may not have been able to detect a person there otherwise", Butler said in a related post on Medium.

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