Postmates testing self-driving with Ford

Auto giant Ford and on-demand delivery specialists Postmates have got together to “to explore the sustainable application of self-driving technologies within local economies”.

On its blog last week, Postmates said: “As the first on-demand delivery partner for Ford’s self-driving program, the first phase of our pilot will evaluate and measure what the merchant experience needs to be at the point of delivery, what the customer experience needs at the point of drop-off, and how the hardware of self-driving technology may need to be outfitted when integrated with an on-demand network.

“Specifically, the pilot will also evaluate how to reach new customer bases in less accessible areas — with the potential to alter the landscape of how commerce moves in the towns we call home.”

However, Postmates did point out that it is not looking to eradicate the human factor from its delivery equation: “While we’re excited to research the potential of self-driving technology, it’s important to note that our walkers, drivers, and bicyclists make up the largest on-demand delivery fleet in the country — and they will always be core to our platform. Our first commitment is to always prioritize what benefit can be realized by our customers, our fleet of Postmates and our merchant partners.”

Postmates signed off its blog with the upbeat message: “As self-driving vehicle technology begins to impact communities and urban transportation, we’re excited to work with Ford to see how this breakthrough technology can be applied as a force for good in local economies.”

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