The companies will conduct pilot services throughout the year to evaluate the effectiveness of self-driving tech, according to plans laid out by Ford CEO Jim Hackett in a speech at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) on Tuesday (Jan. 9).
Ford, which is the second-largest automaker in the U.S., is also launching and testing a new transportation-as-a-service platform this year. It plans to work with partners seeking to access its fleet of self-driving vehicles to deliver services or products.
With its growing fleet of Argo AI test vehicles, Ford plans to deploy an autonomous vehicle business in a yet-to-be-named city. The company did disclose that its vehicles will use Waze software for real-time traffic and navigation services, which will be projected onto Ford’s SYNC 3 touchscreen and will interface with voice commands.
Postmates joins a growing number of companies that have partnered with Ford, including Lyft. According to TechCrunch, Ford was recently recognized as a leader in the industry for self-driving cars and joined Jaguar, GM and Alphabet’s Waymo, as well as startups nuTonomy and Drive.ai, as Lyft allies.
The Postmates partnership comes about a year after Ford announced its acquisition of a majority stake in Argo AI. Over five years, Ford’s investment in the company — equaling $1 billion — will help fuel Ford’s intentions to release its first self-driving car by 2021.
Founded by former Alphabet, Inc. executive Bryan Salesky and Peter Rander, formerly of Uber Technologies, Inc., Argo AI could be a strategic and valuable move for Ford to secure its place in the autonomous vehicle race.
But Ford isn’t the only auto manufacturer in the self-driving car game. So far, we’ve seen a few deals, including General Motors’ $1 billion deal to acquire Cruise Automation and Toyota’s plan to spend the same amount to develop a Silicon Valley-based autonomous driving and robotics research facility.