Over a year ago Ford pledged to have their fleet of self-driving taxis and delivery cars on the road in the US by 2021. Yes, that’s in just 3 years time.
Last week they announced that their self-driving cars are on the streets of Miami, working out their surroundings and conveniently delivering some pizzas at the same time. That’s only one city though, Ford, a lot more to go.
The cars are developed by Argo, an AI start-up that was bought by Ford last year. The company was actually founded by former Google and Uber engineers and robotics specialists – so some good stock. Currently Argo’s AI is in full control of the vehicles, but the drivers are remaining seated during the testing period, for safety reasons.
At night time, the cars drive to Ford’s terminal to be repaired and serviced. Miami seems to be the test bed for the near future, thanks to the sign off from Miami’s mayor. The number of cars on the road is unknown at the moment, but they definitely need to start branching out to other cities if they intend to reach their (ambitious) goal of having their cars all over the US by 2021.
No tip needed
Luckily for all the pizza lovers out there, Ford has loaned out its Argo AI technology to Domino’s to see how Miami residents would react to a delivery. You can order your pizza and track the car’s journey via GPS. When you’re alerted that the pizza has arrived, you enter a pin and get your pizza out from a heated compartment in the car. Genius. No need for the awkward tip (well, for us tip-shy Brits anyway).
Again, during the test period the drivers are sat behind a blacked out window watching customer’s reactions to seeing a human-free delivery (creepy?)
On top of delivering pizza, Ford hope to develop a ‘transport mobility cloud’, where the self-driving cars will monitor traffic through cameras and send data to other cars in their network to improve delivery times.
The future is here.