Automakers and ride sharing apps invest in a driverless future


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Ford Motors will partner with the delivery service Postmates as the car manufacturer continues its slow march towards developing self-driving vehicles. 

This is the latest partnership between an automaker and an online service dependent on transport. Uber Technologies agreed to purchase 24,000 self-driving cars from Volvo last year. Toyota is in talks with Amazon. Even Ford made a separate partnership with the ride-hailing app Lyft three months ago. The goal of each deal is to claim a piece of autonomous vehicle market, even if the technology is years away from being consumer ready.  

While autonomous vehicles can be purchased by individuals, recent deals with Uber, Lyft, and now Postmates indicate that investors see the technology’s biggest potential in the wider commercial environment. 

Corporate leadership at Ford imagines a future where cars are constantly making deliveries or pickups. It’s a goal that is possible with the user base of companies like Lyft, though far more profitable without the overhead that comes from paying a driver.

“Any time you are not carrying goods or people in this business you are not making money,” Jim Farley, Ford’s president of global markets, told a technology conference in Las Vegas (Reuters).

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