Ford Partnering With Postmates In Self-Driving Car Sector

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Ford has announced a new partnership with the delivery service Postmates centered around the self-driving vehicle sector. Plans call for testing of packaged and goods delivery via self-driving cars to begin later in 2018.

Ford had already established a number of partnerships with other firms in the self-driving vehicle sector, but these have had a focus a bit different from this new one.

As explained by Ford’s president of global markets, Jim Farley: “We’re testing the business model” for the delivery of goods. Initially, of course, such vehicles will feature human oversight/drivers, but will later transition to full autonomy, ideally.

That comment was made in an interview between Farley + Ford’s head of autonomous and electric vehicle development, Sherif Marakby, and Reuters.

Here’s more from the Reuters coverage: “Ford will expand delivery partners beyond Dominos Pizza and San Francisco-based Postmates, Farley said. The automaker sees small businesses as a significant potential market and a natural next step after decades of catering to commercial van and pickup buyers, he said.”

“In an address at the CES technology conference in Las Vegas, Farley outlined a concept for self-driving vehicles to pick up and deliver packages from multiple small businesses on a single trip. The key for making profit, Farley said, is keeping the cars moving.”

It’s not yet a clear where exactly Ford’s initial real-world testing will take place. It’s notable, though, that the company is still planning to rely upon plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEV) of such services rather than all-electrics (EVs). The transition to EVs from PHEVs won’t occur until the second generation of the company’s self-driving vehicles arrives, according to the Ford execs.

In related news, GM/Cruise, Waymo/Google, and many others are now working to bring similar services to market within the near future.

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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