Ford Tests Self-Driving Delivery Service in Miami

February 27, 2018 at 12:48 PM

Ford Motor Co. has begun testing self-driving delivery vehicles in Miami.


The fleet initially will consist of about a dozen specially equipped Fusion hybrid sedans, including fully autonomous cars and others that look like they are autonomous but have a driver. Ford will use the pilot program to evaluate how the vehicles perform and how workers and consumers interact with them when, for example, retrieving goods.

The vehicles will be stored and maintained in a new autonomous vehicle operations terminal Ford set up near downtown Miami. Ford also plans to involve local dealers in the program.

Sherif Marakby, Ford's vice president of autonomous vehicles and electrification, notes that the test allows Ford to analyze all aspects of managing, servicing and scaling an automated delivery system. The company also will apply lessons learned from the program to fine-tune the technology as it prepares to launch a self-driving fleet in 2021.

Ford is already using the Miami system to deliver pizzas from Domino's, a company it partnered with on similar tests in Michigan. Next month the program will expand to include Postmates, which delivers food and goods to consumers from local restaurants, 7-Eleven and Walgreens.

Marakby says Miami was chosen in part because of the congestion of the city’s streets. Ford’s Argo AI unit is in the process of mapping Miami and Miami Beach streets.