Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Ford launches autonomous vehicle pilot program to deliver fresh food to Detroit seniors

Posted By on Tue, Dec 14, 2021 at 8:55 AM

click to enlarge Ford is launching an autonomous fresh food delivery pilot in Southwest Detroit. - COURTESY OF FORD MOTOR CO.
  • Courtesy of Ford Motor Co.
  • Ford is launching an autonomous fresh food delivery pilot in Southwest Detroit.

Ford Motor Co. announced a new pilot program that will deliver fresh food to seniors in Southwest Detroit via an autonomous vehicle.

The driverless car will deliver food for six months to more than 20 residents at the Detroit Rio Vista Co-Op apartments, located near Ford's upcoming autonomous vehicles laboratory at the former Michigan Central Station.

The pilot program is part of the philanthropic Ford Fund's food distribution program, but will also allow the company to gather feedback and data about autonomous vehicle applications.

"We're constantly thinking about how to expand our reach in communities for those who don't have access to the most basic goods, like groceries or warm meals," Ford Motor Company Fund mobility director Joe Provenzano said in a statement. "Bringing Ford's mobility expertise together with local collaborations allows us to create innovative solutions that make communities stronger and people's lives better."

The shuttle design also features artwork created by Detroit School of Arts high school senior Brooke Snow, who was awarded $5,000 for the design.

The shuttle will operate at a low speed along a fixed route between the Southwest Detroit Ford Resource and Engagement Center, where the bags will be loaded into the car, and taken to Rio Vista. A safety driver will be inside the shuttle at all times to intervene if necessary, and the company says it can also operate it by remote control.

The program is expected to deliver 10,000 pounds of fresh food.

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