Hermes launches early-stage trials of self-driving vans in Oxford21 June 2021
Delivery firm Hermes has become the first customer to take part in an early stage trial of autonomous vehicles with Ford. The two-week trial will use a specially adapted Ford commercial vehicle featuring sensors that mimic the look of an actual self-driving vehicle, while enabling an experienced, hidden driver to ‘drive’. The research aims to better understand how other road users would interact with an apparently driverless delivery van.
The driver’s role is limited to driving only. Pedestrian couriers will support the delivery van equipped with a smartphone app that lets them hail the vehicle and remotely unlock the load door after it is safely parked at the roadside. Once inside, voice prompts and digital screens will direct the courier to the locker containing the parcels to be delivered.
The research vehicles will enable Hermes to understand how their teams could work alongside driverless vehicles, ensuring that business processes are able to continue safely without a driver present.
Lynsey Aston, head of product, innovation and onboarding, Hermes, said: “We’re excited to collaborate with Ford on this proof of concept trial, which is all about understanding the potential for autonomous vehicles and if they have a role in delivery in the longer-term future.”
Ford Motor Co Ltd
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