A future with cars you don’t have to drive sounds cool. You could possibly read, sleep, or enjoy the scenery at some point while your car handles the drive, though we aren’t there yet. Perhaps one of the best uses for autonomous tech for foodies is shown in a new Ford test program that is testing an autonomous taco delivery truck in cooperation with Postmates.
The service uses a Ford Transit Connect self-driving research vehicle that has three lockers on the passenger side of the vehicle and a pair of lockers in the back. Postmates and Ford teamed up on the truck. Postmates is an on-demand delivery service that will deliver stuff to consumers on demand from restaurants, coffee shops, and other stores. Tacos may be the best thing to come out of the truck but it can handle just about any cargo.
The caveat with this test is that the ride isn’t driving itself, there is a human inside manually driving the car. Autonomous driving tech isn’t quite where it needs to be for this to be a reality. Ford says that the focus of this research is the first and last mile of the delivery experience. The actual development of the self-driving tech is happening in other programs.
Currently, the Postmates pilot is being conducted in Miami and Miami Beach with over 70 business participating including Coyo Taco. When the person ordering requests delivery, they get the option of having the food delivered by Postmates using a self-driving research vehicle. The process has the user order and when the food is ready it is placed into the delivery vehicle and driven to the user, just as delivery always works.
The truck can serve multiple customers along a single delivery route. The lockers around the vehicle are different sizes to allow different types of cargo to be delivered. When the truck shows up at the destination, the person who ordered gets a text that their food is here, and they walk to the truck to get it. The locker with their order is opened with a code texted to the buyer.