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Ford pilot uses self-driving shuttles to deliver food to seniors in Detroit


Ford’s independent delivery trials now include potentially vital services. The automaker is launching a six-month pilot project that will feature self-driving shuttles bringing fresh food to residents of a major Detroit living center, the Rio Vista Detroit Co-Op Apartments, who may be facing challenges bringing in groceries. The free offer will include the “low-speed” vehicle traveling on a fixed route between the Ford facility and Rio Vista, with a safe driver and a remote team ready to take on the task if needed.

Notably, the shuttle does not include Ford’s partner Argo—a distinct effort between Ford’s internal self-driving team and the company’s subsidiary Quantum Signal AI. The two modified the shuttle to help fill and unload food, but otherwise it’s a stock machine (as far as independent shuttles go, at least).

There is certainly a degree of publicity obsession – Ford pilots a pilot that doubles as a bona fide campaigner. This will help Ford study slower autonomous driving and remote control technology. It also points to a future in which self-driving vehicles will help the elderly maintain their quality of life when travel is impractical.

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