Ford and the City of Miami are now teaming up to deliver pizzas and other goods using autonomous vehicles.
In collaboration with partners Domino's, ride-hailing giant Lyft, Postdates, and autonomous software partner Argo AI, the pilot will comprise of a fleet of new Fords, specifically self-driving Fusion midsize sedans making deliveries of pizza and general food items.
The deliveries will be concentrated in Miami and Miami Beach, determining next-level logistics such as food stocking, customer service research, operating its vehicle operations depot for fleet management and repairs, and collecting data.
"Miami had a really nice composition, and the city itself and the openness of [Mayor Gimenez] and the city to this solution was a big factor in it," said Sherif Marakby, Ford vice president of Autonomous Vehicles and Electrification.
Initially, there will be two sets of fleets - one "learning vehicle" which will map Miami, and a second fleet delivering Domino's pizza. A human "backup" driver will be positioned behind the wheel. No word yet on days of week and hours of the day the fleets will be in operation.
In a Medium corporate blog post, Marakby explains the reasoning for Miami's selection, including its standing as the 20th most congested city in the world (per INRIX) with commuters spending an average of 64 hours annual in peak traffic. Other factors included its density and weather.
As for scheduling, the Ford vehicles program will now begin with Domino's, Postdates in Mar. 2018, and Lyft at a later, unspecified date.
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