Ford taps Postmates for edge in self-driving delivery race

Ford revs up self-driving car and smart city plans

Ford and Postmates are teaming up to deliver orders with self-driving cars

Announced at CES today, Ford said that it's partnering with delivery service Postmates to see how self-driving vehicles and on-demand delivery can work together.

Jim Farley, president of Global Markets, Ford Motor Company (L) talks with Jim Hackett, CEO of Ford during the Ford keynote at CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. January 9, 2018.

This is the latest partnership between an automaker and an online service dependent on transport.

The announcements focus on providing cities with cloud services to better understand the autonomous vehicles zooming around their streets, building hardware for vehicles to communicate with one another, and testing new services that are powered by self-driving cars.

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"We're testing the business model" for goods delivery, Farley said. Initially, of course, such vehicles will feature human oversight/drivers, but will later transition to full autonomy, ideally.

In addition to new partner Postmates, Ford will be testing further with existing partners Lyft and Domino's, and already it's gleaned some insights from the latter two, including learning that many of its early users of the Domino's autonomous delivery service say "bye" to the driverless vehicle and enjoy interacting with its voice powered instructions interface.

Postmates offers on-demand delivery from small businesses to area residents. GM in November said it will launch self-driving cars for ride-sharing services by 2019, describing the business as potentially raking in profits.

The automaker has not named the city where it will begin testing its approach. Uber Technologies agreed to purchase 24,000 self-driving cars from Volvo past year.

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Founded out of San Francisco in 2011, Postmates now supplies in many major cities across the USA and Canada, making around 2.5m deliveries each month.

Marakby and Farley said the power demands from computers and sensors can cut the range of an all-electric self-driving vehicle by half.

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.

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