Ford today announced a partnership with Postmates – an on-demand delivery service operating in urban centers around the United States that delivers restaurant carryout, groceries, hardware store items, and just about everything in-between. The automaker will start lending some of its self-driving vehicles to Postmates in order to experiment more with autonomous delivery (you may remember Ford’s partnership with Domino’s Pizza), and see whether “self-driving technology could change the delivery experience for consumers, enable brick-and-mortar retailers to reach new customer bases, and transform the way commerce moves in the communities in which we operate,” as Ford VP of Autonomous Vehicles and Electrification Sherif Marakby put it in a recent Medium essay.
Beyond helping Ford log more miles with its evolving autonomous test vehicles, the automaker hopes its new partnership with Postmates will demonstrate how the technology can change the way that goods are delivered, improving access to expedient delivery for (esp. smaller) businesses and reducing the role that geography plays in whether or not a business thrives. “Retailers who have taken advantage of the platform have seen sales quadruple,” Marakby writes. “Retailers in low-income communities have even used the service to expand their reach into other neighborhoods.”
Ford’s partnership with Postmates was just one of myriad new “Smart Mobility” developments the automaker announced at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Stay tuned for more.