Food couriers have recently joined truck and taxi drivers in the category of jobs that are most likely to be made obsolete by self-driving technology. Ford is currently experimenting with self-driving delivery vans in Miami since earlier this year. And more recently, Ford joined with Postmates to see how people ordering takeout food would interact with an autonomous delivery van.
It’s more complicated than it sounds. Today, a delivery worker rings your doorbell and hands you the food you’ve ordered. But how do you make that transaction in a self-driving, automated world? Ford’s answer? Tiny lockers and access codes. Ford has retrofitted a fleet of its Transit vans with touchpad-accessible lockers, from which Postmates customers with the right access code can retrieve their food. The lockers are varying sizes to accommodate different types of deliveries.
Miami will serve as a test bed for Ford’s forthcoming Transportation Mobility Cloud, an open-sourced platform for cities and other transportation partners. Companies that have announced partnerships with Ford, like Lyft and Postmates, will soon be able to provide ride-hailing trips and deliveries using Ford’s self-driving cars.
Read more about this project on The Verge.