Ford and Walmart are looking out for introverts who don’t want to go shopping in public or deal with delivery drivers.
On Wednesday, the two companies announced that they were teaming up with delivery service Postmates to develop a service in which self-driving cars transport Walmart goods right to customers’ homes — saving them from ever having to leave their houses or interact with another human being.
The pilot program will take place in Miami, and initially it won’t involve any autonomous vehicles (AVs) at all.
According to a blog post by Brian Wolf, an executive at Ford’s autonomous vehicle unit, human drivers will use “research vehicles” designed to mimic AVs to complete the deliveries. As they go, they’ll gather information about customer preferences. Eventually, though, Ford plans to replace those human-driven vehicles with AVs.
No word on when such a goods-delivering service might launch on a wider scale, but Ford has said it plans to have commercial AVs ready by 2021.
This is far from the only AV-powered delivery project in the works, but Ford, Walmart, and Postmates are three of the biggest players in their respective industries, so the partnership does have the potential to play a major role in shaping the future of such services — which, at this point, seem almost inevitable.
Now if they could only figure out a way for the AVs to put the groceries away, too.
READ MORE: Ford, Walmart to Collaborate on Designing Automated-Vehicle Delivery [Reuters]
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