Ford revs up self-driving auto and smart city plans

Ford revs up self-driving auto and smart city plans

"When you combine the power and reach of self-driving vehicles with the deep knowledge of the Postmates team, the scale and scope of the expertise we put into action grows exponentially", said Ford President of Global Markets Jim Farley. The news was unveiled at CES 2018 in Las Vegas.

The program is created to help identify how Postmates can properly integrate with Ford's autonomous driving platform from a technical perspective, but it will also allow them to test things like user interface, interaction models and customer experience for autonomous on-demand delivery.

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".

Ford's move is the latest example of automakers looking to seize new business opportunities from the growth of autonomous vehicles. Its appeal is offering on-demand deliveries to customers who are short on time. The company says it operates in over 250 cities and makes about 2.5 deliveries per month. One day earlier, Toyota teased a self-driving Pizza Hut and Amazon vehicle created to make deliveries and serve as a mobile store.

Also this week, Toyota announced that it was working with a number of companies - including Pizza Hut - to develop p0tential applications for its self-driving vehicles, which could include pizza delivery.

Ford also announced a cloud-based smart city platform, created to facilitate communication between various transportation methods and services operating within them, including individual vehicle data.

But the technology would add a new burden for pedestrians and cyclists.

"A pedestrian equipped with a mobile phone could send signals to vehicles, highlighting their location for cars that may not have been able to detect a person there otherwise", Butler said in a related post on Medium.

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