Companies are finding other uses for self-driving cars during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The autonomous driving company Pony.ai just announced it’s starting a contactless, last-mile delivery service with ecommerce platform company Yamibuy.
“The delivery service will be fully autonomous from point to point,” a spokesman for Pony.ai told me. “The final action of delivery will require consumers to come and pick up, or the operator will drop off at the doorstep. We ensure the whole process is contactless.”
As is typical in autonomous vehicle trials, the self-driving vehicle will have a backup safety driver.
Products from Los Angeles-based Yamibuy will be delivered in the vehicles through mid-summer to help address the swell in demand due to COVID-19.
Pony.ai started a public facing robotaxi service in California and has been operating it in Irvine since November 2019.
This will be the first time Pony.ai uses its robotaxi service for goods delivery.
In these times, companies are starting to find practical uses for autonomous vehicles.