For months, Ford has been using Miami-Dade County as a testing ground for self-driving cars in a partnership touted as a way to reduce the area’s maddening traffic problems. Now, shiny new Transit Connect vans emblazoned with the words “self-driving delivery service” have hit the road to deliver for 70 local businesses.
Operating in partnership with Postmates, the vans are outfitted with lockers accessible via
“Research vehicles for our business pilots are designed to appear as self-driving; however, they are manually driven by an experienced driver,” Ford wrote this week in a post on Medium. “The focus of our research is on the first and last mile of the delivery experience.”
Earlier this year, Ford deployed a separate fleet of
The idea behind the new Postmates vans, Ford says, is to determine how consumers will interact with a driverless delivery car. What happens when there’s no human driver to bring food to a doorstep?
Ford’s solution is touchscreens, lockers,
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“Ultimately, through our partnership with Postmates, we’re testing methods for efficient deliveries to help local businesses expand their reach and provide a seamless experience to customers,” Ford said on Medium.
The company’s publicity materials have boasted that driverless cars mean tip-less deliveries. The Medium post encourages Miamians to “jump at the chance to contribute to the future of delivery.”
Left unsaid: the loss of work for Miami’s already underpaid delivery drivers when the cars go truly driverless.