Ford is ready to pizza delivery drivers out of the picture in one of the most congested cities in the country: Miami.
The automaker said Monday that Miamians will eventually see self-driving Ford vehicles delivering Domino's Pizza while navigating their city's challenging streets with a human "safety" drive to serve as a backup.
The first self-driving Fords to hit Miami streets will be tasked with learning to adapt to the city's urban environment, with the goal of improving Ford’s wider autonomous fleet. A second fleet will make deliveries for Domino’s Pizza throughout the city, in part to test customer reaction. Ford also has a partnership with Postmates to deliver other goods to customers.
Ford’s early tests won’t include taking passengers, but it hopes to leverage its partnership with Lyft.
“We need to start getting used to seeing vehicles with no driver in them picking up passengers," said Miami mayor Carlos Gimenez. "That day is coming a lot sooner than people think.”
Ford base its fleets in an autonomous vehicle operations terminal in Miami. The self-driving cars will be washed at the depot, with extra attention paid to the sensors essential to their operation, and routine maintenance will be performed. The depot along with partnerships with local dealers will oversee the maintenance of the cars.
-- by Ruben Porras