Ford Partnering With Postmates In Self-Driving Car Sector

Pat Wise
January 13, 2018

Ford has laid out a broad vision for its future - and set itself an enormous challenge - from rolling out autonomous vehicles for deliveries and ridesharing, to building smart city technology.

With this new partnership with Postmates, Ford says that it will not only change consumer experiences but also allow retailers to expand their customer base by reaching new variants of customers.

The companies also didn't elaborate on how Postmates customers would receive deliveries - there will likely be someone in the vehicle - but said users will follow instructions provided via the app. "Maybe some things work perfectly with autonomous vehicles, maybe some things don't".

Basically, this will mean that Ford can use its cars for delivering goods and packages, picking up and transporting passengers (and even supplementing public transit system), and sending out food, all with the same cars. The latest agreement would add Postmates - which aims to offer local delivery of essentially any item - and its network of 250,000 businesses in 250 cities. One day earlier, Toyota teased a self-driving Pizza Hut and Amazon vehicle created to make deliveries and serve as a mobile store.

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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. Farley also indicated that Ford will begin testing self-driving technology in a new city that will be announced in the coming months.

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.

Opening the presentation, CEO Jim Hackett highlighted the potential for autonomous vehicles and associated technology to "disrupt" modern transportation systems by decreasing congestion and pollution in cities and promoting civic life.

On stage at the event, Ford executive director Don Butler demoed how an autonomous vehicle could realize if the driver is ill and pull over to the side of the road before alerting authorities. They'd need to carry a smartphone with them at all times in order for the autonomous vehicle to identify them.

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