CES 2018: Ford to study interaction with self-driving cars

Ford revs up self-driving car and smart city plans

Ford and Postmates are teaming up to deliver orders with self-driving cars

This is important for applications like autonomous cars, because C-V2X vehicles would be able to do things like communicate intent to other vehicles around them, which could then respond accordingly. The company previous year began using an autonomous Ford Fusion to deliver Domino's orders in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Postmates is the first on-demand delivery app to work with Ford in this capacity, and will test with the platform this year, including in a pilot in a new city to be announced later by Ford where it will test and eventually launch a self-driving vehicle fleet. The news was unveiled at CES 2018 in Las Vegas.

Postmates is an on-demand delivery service that carries packages between any two locations users choose. It envisages its autonomous cars being summoned by small or medium businesses to conduct deliveries, as an alternative to more traditional logistics options. "One of the key aspects of monetizing the [autonomous vehicles] is to manage the utilization and to make sure that these vehicles are always running, always providing service, and always delivering stuff", says Marakby.

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Postmates signed off its blog with the upbeat message: "As self-driving vehicle technology begins to impact communities and urban transportation, we're excited to work with Ford to see how this breakthrough technology can be applied as a force for good in local economies". One day earlier, Toyota teased a self-driving Pizza Hut and Amazon vehicle created to make deliveries and serve as a mobile store.

For Ford, it highlights its interests into the operations of cities.

As well as ride sharing applications, the vehicle maker is also eyeing goods delivery.

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But the technology would add a new burden for pedestrians and cyclists.

On stage at the event, Ford executive director Don Butler demoed how an autonomous vehicle could realize if the driver is ill and pull over to the side of the road before alerting authorities. They'd need to carry a smartphone with them at all times in order for the autonomous vehicle to identify them.

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