Originally posted on Crains
Ford Motor Co.’s pilot program will use autonomous shuttles to deliver 10,000 pounds of food.
Ford Motor Co. is combining research and philanthropy with a pilot program that will use autonomous shuttles to deliver 10,000 pounds of fresh food to mobility-challenged older adults in Detroit.
The six-month program will double the amount of free food that will go to residents of Rio Vista Detroit Co-op Apartments senior living center in southwest Detroit and near Michigan Central Station, which Ford is renovating into the heart of a new innovation campus.
More than 20 Rio Vista residents have already opted in to the complimentary program — Ford Resource and Engagement Center on the Go, launched earlier this year by Ford Fund and Gleaners Community Food Bank — as a reliable way to receive their groceries without needing to secure transportation.
The deliveries will be made with a fixed-route, low-speed shuttle operated by Ford’s autonomous vehicle team and subsidiary Quantum Signal AI. The shuttle will have a safety driver and be monitored remotely, with the ability to intervene if necessary.
The vehicle’s exterior design, representing the Detroit neighborhood, was created by Brooke Snow, a 12th-grade student at the Detroit School of Arts. Ford awarded Snow $5,000, which she plans to use toward college expenses.