Ford Walmart and Postmates work together in delivery services to Walmart customers.
Ford and Walmart work together to design automatic vehicle shipments. Ford Motor Co., Walmart Inc. and Postmates Inc shipping services will collaborate to design a service to deliver food and other goods to Walmart customers who can someday use autonomous vehicles, the company said on Wednesday (November 14, 2018, according to Reuters).
This is the latest project that has grown from Ford’s efforts to broader in developing businesses that can use automatic delivery vehicles. Ford works with Postmates based in San Francisco to develop shipping services that can use automatic vehicles.
Walmart pilots will initially use human-driven vehicles that are operated to simulate how vehicles that can drive themselves will behave, Ford said. Ford said it expects to launch automatic vehicle commercial production by 2021.
Ford and its partners use Miami as a testing ground for the idea of Ã¢â‚¬â€¹Ã¢â‚¬â€¹automated shipping services and automated vehicle technology.
The new pilot project will offer customer shipments by items ordered at Walmart stores. Brian Wolf, an Ford autonomous vehicle unit executive, wrote in a blog post that the company will work for the next “several months” to find out what items can be delivered successfully, especially food that is easily damaged.
That could require new designs or equipment for vehicles, wrote Wolf. Among the challenges Ford says is working on designing an on-board storage system that is easy for customers to open to pick up pizza or packages.
According to the Postmates website, which operates in 385 US cities, as well as Mexico. It offers shipping from restaurants and brick-and-mortar stores.
Walmart competes with online retailers Amazon. com and other rivals to cut the cost of shipping goods beyond what “last mile” industry executives call customers who order online.
Replacing a human delivery driver van with a robotic system can reduce last-mile shipping costs. But this technology is still expensive, and the industry is still awaiting regulations that can help protect automatic vehicle owners or producers from liability claims.
Ford has emphasized the commercial use of autonomous vehicle technology, such as shipping goods, in contrast to rivals General Motors Co, which works to build a taxi robot service on the GM Cruise unit.
Ford is in discussions with German car manufacturer Volkswagen AG about the possibility of investing in its self-driving vehicle unit, people familiar with the situation. No agreement was announced.
In July, Ford said it would create a new business unit, Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC, to become the operating place for its self-driving vehicles. The carmaker said it would invest a total of $ 4 billion in units by 2023.