Ford and Postmates Deliver with "Self-Driving" Delivery Vehicles in Miami

Ford and Postmates have partnered up to create an on-demand delivery platform powered by a self-driving delivery service that is currently being tested in Miami.

No, their “self-driving” cars are not self-driving, yet.

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Ford and Postmates are testing the on-demand delivery platform with experienced, human drivers. The self-driving technology is currently being developed in separate test vehicles.

In a self-penned article on Medium, Ford Autonomous Vehicle Business Team member, Alexandra Ford English says the on-demand delivery platform is currently being tested in Miami and Miami Beach with more than 70 businesses participating, including local favorite, Coyo Taco. For residents in the area, when you order through Postmates, you could be given the option to have your food delivered by a self-driving research vehicle.

The process is convenient for both the restaurant employees and the customer with a number of steps becoming automated. Here’s a look at the process:

Once your order is received, it is built and placed into the delivery vehicle by a restaurant employee using a special code. A version of Ford’s Transit Connect vehicle was specially designed with a locker system to secure food and allow the vehicle to serve multiple customers along one delivery route.

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Once the vehicle arrives, the customer receives a text notification indicating that the delivery is ready for pickup and supplies the customer with their retrieval code.

Consumers will enter their access code into the vehicle’s touch screen and the appropriate locker will open along with audio prompts and lights to direct them to the designated locker.

Ford English says, “ This is our first self-driving research vehicle modified specifically to test a variety of interfaces — the touchscreen, the locker system, the external audio system— to inform the design of our purpose-built self-driving vehicle that’s scheduled to arrive in 2021. Ultimately, through our partnership with Postmates, we’re testing methods for efficient deliveries to help local businesses expand their reach and provide a seamless experience to customers.”

Read more about what Ford is doing at Medium.