General Motors’ (NYSE: GM) subsidiary Cruise Automation, which makes technology for self-driving cars, has announced a partnership with food delivery company DoorDash to deliver food by driverless cars. The test program is scheduled to be launched in San Francisco, where Cruise is based, in March of this year. During the test, selected DoorDash customers in the city will be able to have meals from local restaurants or fresh grocery items delivered to their home or business by automated Chevrolet Bolt EVs.
GM and Cruise will be gathering valuable data during the test about real-world applications for autonomous cars. Cruise CEO Dan Ammann said in a statement, “Delivery is a significant opportunity for Cruise as we prepare to commercialize our autonomous vehicle technology and transform transportation. Partnering with DoorDash will provide us with critical learnings as we further our mission to deliver technology that makes people’s lives better and more convenient.”
DoorDash will gain information on a new way to make deliveries with the testing. CEO Tony Xu commented, “We see autonomous vehicles playing a major role in the future of delivery as consumer behaviors continue to shift online, and we are confident Cruise’s leading technology will help us scale to meet growing consumer demand.”
Both companies say that the testing will give them valuable information on the operational and safety aspects of automated delivery programs. While the car is expected to mostly drive on its own, there will be a “safety driver” in the vehicle to take over in the event of an emergency.
GM and DoorDash are not the only companies currently working on delivery by automated car. Ford has also been doing some testing in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Miami, partnering with Domino’s Pizza, online food delivery company Postmates, and small businesses in Miami. A big difference between Ford’s tests and GM’s is that Ford’s cars are actually being driven by humans who have been instructed not to interact with customers.