Ford and delivery service Hermes are testing how other road users behave toward what appears to be a driverless van. The project uses a converted Ford Transit.
In a two-week pilot project in London (UK), the delivery service Hermes is using a Ford research vehicle. The converted Ford Transit panel van is to demonstrate how other road users behave toward what appears to be a driverless van. Due to current legislation, the delivery vehicle is driven by a driver who is invisible to outsiders, but is equipped with all the typical sensors of an autonomous car. Ford had conducted a similar undercover test back in 2017.
In the test, couriers on foot can request and stop the “autonomous” delivery vehicle via a smartphone app developed by Hermes. Once the van is safely parked, they can remotely open the door to the cargo area and are then guided to their designated parcel compartment via voice prompts and monitors. The project will identify new opportunities and models for autonomous vehicle operation. It will also clarify how existing processes and human interactions work in conjunction with automated vehicles.