Ford to Test Autonomous Deliveries with Silicon Valley Startup

Ford Motor Co. says it will begin testing delivery service in self-driving vehicles in select cities this spring in conjunction with San Francisco-based Postmates Inc.

The partners will use the program to evaluate the technology and how consumers and merchants interact with it. The tests initially will include an on-board backup driver, similar to the pilot program Ford launched last summer in Michigan with Domino’s Pizza.

Launched in 2012, Postmates provides on-demand delivery service in 250 cities using an Uber-like network of 120,000 independent drivers. The company claims it can delivery virtually anything from any store or restaurant within minutes where it operates.

Ford says such services can help connect consumers to small local businesses. It notes that participating retail partners have used Postmates to quadruple delivery sales and expand into adjacent neighborhoods.