Ford revs up self-driving auto and smart city plans

Ford revs up self-driving auto and smart city plans

Ford Motors will partner with the delivery service Postmates as the auto manufacturer continues its slow march towards developing self-driving vehicles.

In a slew of announcements made at the CES in Las Vegas this week, the vehicle maker detailed how it plans to transition into an automotive and mobility company - something it has been talking about for a while.

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.

It's all part of Ford's work to expand beyond its traditional business of making cars into a future where the vehicle driving down the street is only one part of a larger ecosystem backed by high-tech services.

President Trump says he doesn't think Oprah Winfrey will run
She's not thinking that, 'Oh, since I did this speech, I qualify to be president or I even want to be president'. DeMille Award during the 75th Golden Globe Awards on 7 January, 2018, in Beverly Hills, California.

As explained by Ford's president of global markets, Jim Farley: "We're testing the business model" for the delivery of goods. The project builds on Ford's test of an autonomous Domino's pizza delivery vehicle and shows another possible use for self-driving cars beyond carrying passengers. The company a year ago began using an autonomous Ford Fusion to deliver Domino's orders in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Ford already has 700,000 connected vehicles on the road and by next year, every new vehicle it makes for the United States will be connected. The company is also interested in discovering how to design delivery-only vehicles.

While autonomous vehicles can be purchased by individuals, recent deals with Uber, Lyft, and now Postmates indicate that investors see the technology's biggest potential in the wider commercial environment.

The second-largest USA automaker is also launching and testing a new transportation-as-a-service platform this year. The goal of each deal is to claim a piece of autonomous vehicle market, even if the technology is years away from being consumer ready.

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