Ford and Postmates to spend 2018 exploring self-driving technologies

 

Ford and on-demand delivery company Postmates have announced that they will work together to “explore the sustainable application of self-driving technologies within local economies.”

Through this partnership, Postmates becomes the first on-demand delivery partner for Ford’s self-driving program.

During the first phase of their pilot, Ford and Postmates will evaluate and measure several things, including “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.”

The pilot will also examine how new customer bases in less accessible areas can be reached, as Postmates says that there is the potential to “alter the landscape of how commerce moves in the towns we call home.”

For Vivek Patel, Vice President of Business Operations at Postmates, partnering with Ford makes all the sense in the world, especially when you take into account Postmates’ ultimate goals.

“Ford’s self-driving technology has the potential to not only make our delivery network faster and more efficient, but to ultimately connect more customers to more local businesses,” Patel says.

“Expanding access to smaller, local merchants is at the core of our business. We view self-driving vehicles as another potential tool that can even the playing field for these businesses, and ensure that geography alone does not equal destiny.”

While this partnership will focus on researching the potential of self-driving technology, Ford and Postmates both acknowledge that walkers, drivers, and bicyclists make up the largest on-demand delivery fleet in the country, and both companies emphasize that these entities “will always be core to our platform.”