Ford and Walmart Prepare Self-Driving Meal Delivery

Ford, Walmart and the Postmates Company will work together on a delivery service that would someday use self-driving cars. The pilot project will be developed in the Miami area.

Ford and Walmart Prepare Autonomous Vehicle Delivery

Ford and Walmart will work together on a delivery service for the US distributor’s customers with the Postmates company, a system that could one day use self-driving cars, the three groups said Wednesday. Ford is looking to develop activities that can use automated delivery vehicles. The automaker is already working in this direction with Postmates.

Commercial production expected in 2019

The Walmart pilot project, which will be developed in the Miami area, will initially use vehicles with drivers to simulate the behavior of an autonomous car, said Ford, which hopes to start commercial production of these vehicles. ‘by 2021.

This pilot project will allow Walmart customers to be delivered by Postmates. The companies will work over the “next few months” to find out what products can be delivered, including perishable foodstuffs, Brian Wolf, an executive in Ford’s autonomous vehicle branch, wrote on his blog. “Before self-driving cars can become mainstream vehicles, we need to have a better idea of ​​how people want to interact with them,” said Tom Ward, vice president of digital at Walmart, in a statement on Wednesday. . This might require new designs or new equipment for the cars, added Brian Wolf.

Amazon competition

Among the challenges Ford is working on is designing easy-to-open integrated storage systems that would allow customers to pick up a pizza or a package. Postmates, a San Francisco-based company present in 385 American cities according to its website, offers a delivery service to restaurants and traditional stores.

For its part, Walmart faces competition from Amazon.com, among others, and seeks to reduce delivery costs. Ford has focused on commercial uses of autonomous vehicle technology, such as delivering goods, unlike General Motors, which is working on a robotic taxi service.

(With Reuters)