Ford Testing Self-Driving Food Delivery System in Miami

FOrd Transit Connect self-driving delivery system 5 photos
Photo: Ford
Ford self-driving food delivery systemFord self-driving food delivery systemFord self-driving food delivery systemFord self-driving food delivery system
Announced back in February as perhaps the most useful application of a self-driving technology, Ford’s partnership with Postmates is growing like prince charming.
Four months after being announced, Ford says the pilot project currently underway in Miami has attracted 70 business, including, for instance, the local Coyo Taco.

For the project, Ford is using a Transit Connect and is somewhat cheating. You see, the car is not at all autonomous, but controlled by an experienced driver. Meaning they’re just like any delivery vans. So what is exactly Ford testing?

They are testing people’s reaction to the delivery method and their interaction with the car. Ford’s procedure does not require the driver to come up to your door and deliver the goods, but instead makes the customer walk up to the car and pick them up himself.

The Connect van is equipped with a multi-locker system that grants customers access to the desired products. An app notifies them on the estimated delivery time for the food and, once it has arrived, the customer is required to key-in a code on the embedded touchscreen. The code is used to unlock the correct locker and have the meal served.

The self-driving features of the future autonomous delivery system, meaning cars with no drivers, are being tested elsewhere in Miami, with the help of a fleet of other cars.

"Today, deliveries can be made to someone’s door, though there is usually an extra charge involved," said in an article on Medium. Ford’s vice president Sherif Marakby back in February when the project was announced.

“Oftentimes, drivers illegally double-park when they can’t find a space, potentially causing traffic congestion for others. A self-driving vehicle won’t need to be tipped, and it won’t park illegally.”

Ford plans the Miami project to act as a testbed for the launch of the purpose-built self-driving vehicle in 2021.

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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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