Ford and Postmate Work Together to Develop a Driverless Delivery Fleet
Jim Farley is President of Global Markets at Ford. Sherif Marakby is the
leader of Ford’s Autonomous and Electric Vehicle Development Division.
This past Tuesday, January 9th, the two announced that their employer will
be partnering with Postmates.
Postmates is an intracity same day delivery company. The two companies are
exploring using self-driving vehicles to deliver goods. Ford had
previously entered into the same arrangement with Dominos Pizza. FMC hope
to attract more companies to its autonomous delivery program.
The livery car service Lyft is already working with Ford on driverless
passenger transport. The pairing is a direct response to Uber Technologies
Inc efforts to develop an autonomous fleet.
Human drivers will be used to determine how a driverless fleet should
operate. As the folks at Ford see it, autonomous commercial vehicles are a
natural extension of their truck division. FMC hopes to have the program
up and running by 2021.
Speaking at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas Jim Farley
explained FMC’s strategy for making the program viable. Each time a self-
driving delivery vehicle goes out it should make as many pick-ups and
drop-offs as possible. If a vehicle is idle it is not generating revenue
for its owner.
California has already taken issue with the program. The Golden State’s
objection centers on pollution. The vehicles will be gas/electric rather
than full electric. Ford countered that without the internal combustion
engine the extra demand for electricity the computers and sensors create
would significantly reduce a vehicle’s range.