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Ford, Walmart Launch Self-Driving Car Pilot Program In South Florida

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) - The traffic and congestion may make Miami known for all the wrong reasons but it has also attracted Ford and Walmart to begin testing a new driverless car and delivery service.

Ford is working with Walmart and its existing delivery partner in Miami, Postmates, to research which products being purchased and delivered throughout the area.

"We're looking for cities that have great density and a lot of things going on", says Brian Wolf the head of AV business at Ford.

The program hopes to turn autonomous vehicles into not just a ride, but also a delivery service.

The pilot program is testing how and what products can be purchased and delivered in the most efficient way. A big challenge is that there is no longer a driver to deliver the goods to the paying customer.

"How do you get somebody to get there groceries or pizza from the car instead of having someone bring it to you," said Wolf.

Overall the feedback has been positive adding that people actually try to communicate with the car when they are notified to come out.

State Senator Jeff Brandes sees a limitless potential for what this program may mean to South Florida.

"It really highlights how open Florida is to the deployment of this technology," he said, adding that keeping individuals out of traffic here in the Miami area can only lead to good things for the region.

The program is already underway and people have been opting in to have what they purchased delivered by the car itself. There is someone in the car overseeing how the process works and providing feedback for now.

The plan is to have the vehicles completely driverless and offer rides along with delivery options sometime in the year 2021. Miami is the first city to have this program with future cities already being mapped out for the vehicles.

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