Ford is now well on its way to offering self-driving food delivery services with Postmates. Earlier this year, the automaker began expanding its self-driving program to Miami where it tested the program through partnerships with Dominos and Postmates.
The company’s pilot program in Miami and Miami Beach offers delivery options from more than 70 businesses in the area, with the option of having the order delivered in a self-driving research vehicle, according to Ford.
Research vehicles used by the company are not autonomous cars, but are designed to appear as such. Instead, they are manually driven cars with sensors that are being used to research the first and last mile of the delivery service.
Customers who order from the service will have to interact with the vehicle to retrieve their orders. When the meal is ready for delivery, a restaurant employee places the order in a locker system in the car, which will keep the food secure.
The company is working on developing the program to be able to serve multiple customers in one route, making various stops along the way. Since Postmates offers food delivery but also other products from stores, the self-driving vehicles are equipped with lockers of different sizes. Customers will receive a text once the delivery has arrived, and have to enter an access code that will open their designated locker.
According to Ford’s president for global markets, Jim Farley, who spoke to Fortune earlier this year, the research process for the pilot program has revealed a lot about how customers interact with the technology of the self-driving car service. For instance, some customers were less willing to walk up to the vehicle in the summer months when they’re more likely to be barefoot.
The ongoing research process will help the automaker determine the best design for its self-driving delivery cars, which are expected to take the streets in 2021.