Ford’s heavily invested in self-driving cars and it’s working with multiple partners to create solutions that will rely on cars that can drive themselves. The company has teamed up with Walmart to explore how self-driving cars can delivery everyday goods such as groceries and supplies. Postmates is a partner in this project as well.
Ford says that a pilot program has been set up to explore how its self-driving cars can complement Walmart’s existing delivery services. Postmate is a partner of both Ford and Walmart so its infrastructure could be used to get this pilot up and running quickly.
The pilot program will initially use human-driven vehicles in order to simulate how a self-driving car will function in such a service. It will provide crucial data to Ford about consumer preferences which will be valuable as it builds out the service for the future in which self-driving cars will be commonplace.
This pilot will take place in the Miami area. Customers will get delivery by Postmates of products ordered at Walmart stores. The companies will be working together to identify which goods can be delivered effectively and this will also enable Ford to explore different vehicle configurations or modifications to make that happen.
“Before self-driving cars can go mainstream, we must get a better sense of how people want to interact with them,” said Tom Ward, senior VP for digital operations at Walmart.