Ford taps Postmates to pilot self-driving delivery cars
- Ford Motor Company plans to pilot a program with delivery company Postmates to better understand how self-driving cars can change delivery experiences and help retailers gain new customers, according to a blog post by Ford's vice president of autonomous vehicles and electrification. The news was announced at CES.
- The program will examine how self-driving vehicles can deliver products that consumers order through Postmates. Ford said it will study the needs and experiences of both merchants and consumers at the delivery point.
- Another announcement Ford made at the tech conference CES in Las Vegas surrounds an open cloud-based platform that will allow cities to manage different transportation systems, as well as a partnership with Qualcomm that will let parts of a city, such as stoplights, signs, bikes and other cars, communicate and share information.
The partnership between Postmates and Ford comes amid a web of alliances among carmakers, ride-hailing startups and tech companies vying to be the first to roll out self-driving technology at scale.
Ford's CEO Jim Hackett seems to have big plans to position the automaker as a market leader in self-driving products and services. The company continues to study the usefulness and effectiveness that driverless technology could offer brands and businesses across multiple sectors. For example, after its partnership with Domino's on self-driving pizza delivery vehicles, the automaker discovered more about how people interact with driverless cars, according to Fortune. This move is notable because it points to Ford's larger vision and strategy to create a connected ecosystem of advanced communication and services that future high-tech cities might want with autonomous vehicles, as well as the carmaker's focus on enhancing consumer's product experiences.
Supporting local businesses and helping people better navigate their cities is another goal of Ford's driverless initiatives, Sherif Marakby writes in the blog post. Emerging driverless technology will likely have a major impact on the on-demand delivery space, which has seen significant growth in the past few years, with new companies like Postmates, UberEats and Instacart popping up. The new Postmates partnership could help Ford gain better insights into what that consumers and merchants want when it comes to self-driving cars and delivery services overall, according to Marakby.
At CES, Ford also announced a platform where its partners in the self-driving car space, including Domino's and Lyft, along with Postmates, will be able to connect to its future fleet of self-driving vehicles. The latest announcements to advance the automaker's self-driving initiatives underscore Ford’s commitment to technology and being a game-changer in the future of mobility and transportation.