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Taste test: Ford plans real-world trial of self-driving food delivery van

Autoblog logo Autoblog 6/11/2018 Joel Stocksdale
a blue car parked in front of a building© Ford

The future of self-driving vehicles isn't just for passengers, Ford sees it as being for food, too. The company revealed that it has developed a self-driving Ford Transit Connect van for delivering food orders to hungry customers. The vehicle will be used in conjunction with the Postmates delivery service. The pilot program will be in Miami and Miami Beach, Florida.

How the system works: When someone orders food from a participating restaurant, they'll have the option of getting their order delivered in this self-driving Transit Connect. The restaurant will then place the order in one of the van's many lockers. The van then travels on its merry way to its destination. The customer receives a text message saying the order has arrived, along with a code to access the appropriate locker. The customer then heads out to the van, looks for the right locker, inputs the code on a touchpad, and grabs the grub.

Ford says this program is helping the company prepare a purpose-built self-driving car for introduction in 2021. It will be interesting to see if this program is a success or not. Aside from the technology hurdles of self-driving cars, will people actually like this service? After all, one of the perks of having something delivered is that the delivery person comes right up to your door. You don't have to leave your house to walk over to a van and extract your food. Time will tell.

a car parked on the side of a building

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