Ford, the U.S. automaker, is preparing to deploy self-driving cars on the streets of South Beach and greater Miami.
According to news from CNBC, Ford is expected to unleash two fleets of vehicles in South Florida, aiming to be one of the first companies with driverless cars that can deliver goods and people. The first fleet will include Fusion Hybrid vehicles that it will test with Argo AI. The second fleet will be comprised of different autonomous Ford cars and will be used to see how consumers react and interact with the vehicles when Domino’s and Postmates deliver food and purchases through them.
“The last 50 feet of delivering goods is a real challenge,” said Jim Farley, EVP and president of Global Markets for Ford in the CNBC report. “This will help us better understand how customers interact with vehicles when there is a delivery by an autonomous-drive vehicle.”
Ford previously set a goal to have autonomous cars on U.S. streets by 2021. “Being in an urban area like Miami will really help us understand how our vehicles handle making deliveries in complex situations,” said Farley. “There are double-parked cars, traffic diversions, deliveries being made to apartments.”
In August of 2017, Domino’s and Ford announced they would be testing self-driving pizza delivery vehicles in Michigan to get an idea of how consumers really felt about automated delivery. It’s not the first run of this kind for the brand — Domino’s Pizza Enterprises, the Ann Arbor-based company’s largest independent franchise, has already tested delivery to customers in New Zealand via drone and self-driving robot. Sherif Marakby, head of Ford’s autonomous and electric vehicles, wrote in a blog post at the time that the auto company plans to cooperate “with multiple partners” in deploying self-driving vehicles “designed to improve the movement of people and goods.”