Ford revs up self-driving auto and smart city plans

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Sherif Marakby, Ford's vice president of autonomous vehicles and electrification, says the pilot will enable Ford to experiment with managing an autonomous fleet and assess the costs of running a network of cars all the time.

Ford and delivery service Postmates are announcing a pilot partnership to investigate how self-driving vehicles can start bringing in cash.

Ford is one of several vehicle makers looking to use self-driving cars as a service.

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The companies also didn't elaborate on how Postmates customers would receive deliveries - there will be someone in the auto - but said users will follow instructions provided via the app.

Founded out of San Francisco in 2011, Postmates now supplies in many major cities across the United States and Canada, making around 2.5m deliveries each month. "With the knowledge we'll gain from our partnership with Postmates, we anticipate we'll be able to better deploy self-driving technology in a way that can help people get what they need faster, while also supporting local businesses that are a big part of communities around the world".

Ford is the latest vehicle company that wants to deliver your takeout in a self-driving auto. Ford will own and operate its fleet of AVs, but partners like Postmates will offer the service layer that will deliver goods and things like ride-sharing to consumers.

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

Also this week, Toyota announced that it was working with a number of companies - including Pizza Hut - to develop p0tential applications for its self-driving vehicles, which could include pizza delivery.

"Within the next few years, every stoplight and intersection could have a 5G or C-V2X communication unit - allowing them to send signals with minimal interference", writes Don Butler, Ford Executive Director, Connected Vehicle and Services. They're powered by a series of partnerships with companies like Postmates, Qualcomm, and Autonomic.

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