MWC 2017 News

Ford shows off concept self-driving van packed with delivery drones at MWC

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While Amazon is cooking up concepts of autonomous drone deliveries from the sky, Ford is looking to better them on ground itself. At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the automaker has taken the wraps off a brand new concept called ‘Autolivery’ to solve last-mile delivery challenges.

We’re steadily witnessing an advent of self-driving vehicles and Ford is planning to employ the same into their action plan for last-mile autonomous deliveries. The Autolivery concept, which isn’t such a well thought-out name, involves making use of self-driving vehicles carrying drones to complete product deliveries. It is aimed at making deliveries in crowded urban areas, specifically tackling the “last 15 metres” in goods delivery.

This means if you’re living in a high-rise building and want to order some fresh salsa, then you just call upon Ford’s Autolivery services. The self-driving van carrying your product will reach the foot of your building and the final delivery will be completed with the drones packed along with the said vehicle. They’ll carry your product and land on landing pads outside your window.

Talking about this ambitious project, Ken Washington, VP (Research and Advanced Engineering) of Ford Motor Company, said,

Ford has at its heart a culture of disruption and innovation designed to come up with solutions that put people first, to save them time, money and aggravation, and also to make our cities easier to navigate and better to live in. While the scene shown today is not yet possible, Autolivery suggests how our ongoing mobility research could enrich our lives in a more sustainable ‘City of Tomorrow’.

The said concept is a result of the company’s internal Last Mile Mobility Challenge and has been developed by Shanghai-based Ford designers Euishik Bang, James Kuo and Chelsia Lau. This concept fits perfectly with their vision for the ‘City of Tomorrow,’ which is also an active concept aiming to build a mobility-focused future complete with autonomous vehicles, ride-sharing, and sustainable plus connected mobility.

Commenting on their concept, Euishik Bang said,

It’s all about making life in the city easier. The possibility of harnessing autonomous and electric vehicle technology with drones to quickly and easily send and deliver parcels could help to make life better for everyone.

Much like every other automaker, Ford is also no longer restricting itself to building traditional vehicles but is integrating technology into the core of their operations as well. The American giant has recently driven a massive $1 billion investment into self-driving tech startup Argo.AI. And as we can see above, it falls completely in line with their future concepts. Now, Ford plans to commercialize the use of self-driving technology in mobility services such as ride sharing, ride-hailing or package delivery fleets by 2021.

A hands-on guy fascinated by new apps, technologies and enterprise products.

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