Ford is putting autonomous delivery vehicles to work this holiday season delivering fresh food to those in need Southwest Detroit.
In collaboration with its philanthropic arm, Ford Motor Company Fund, the fresh food delivery pilot is expected to deliver 10,000 pounds of fresh food to the homes of senior citizens who lack access to food due to mobility challenges.
The six-month-long pilot will utilize a low-speed autonomous shuttle operated by the Ford future tech autonomous vehicle team and Quantum Signal AI, a wholly owned Ford subsidiary. A safety driver will be inside the shuttle at all times, and be monitored by a remote operations team that can also intervene if needed. The pilot vehicle has been upfitted by Ford’s experience design team for efficient packing and transit of fresh food items and for easy loading and unloading.
The vehicle will run along a fixed route between the Southwest Detroit Ford Resource and Engagement Center, where groceries will be loaded and taken to Rio Vista Destroit Co-op Apartments senior living center and distributed among participating residents.
Rio Vista residents will see their existing food deliveries from the complimentary program – Ford Resource and Engagement Center (FREC) on the Go, launched earlier this year by Ford Fund and Gleaners Community Food Bank – double in the coming weeks as they receive an additional shipment of groceries through the pilot. The program and pilot are essential to more than 20 Rio Vista residents who have already opted-in to this complimentary service as a reliable way to receive their groceries without needing to secure transportation.
“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,” said Joe Provenzano, mobility director, Ford Motor Company Fund. “Bringing Ford’s mobility expertise together with local collaborations allows us to create innovative solutions that make communities stronger and people’s lives better.”