The six-month pilot is expected to provide 10,000 pounds of fresh food to senior citizens who lack access to food due to mobility challenges.  -  Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The six-month pilot is expected to provide 10,000 pounds of fresh food to senior citizens who lack access to food due to mobility challenges.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company, in collaboration with its philanthropic arm, Ford Motor Company Fund, is launching a six-month fresh food delivery pilot program in Southwest Detroit, deploying specialized autonomous vehicle technology. Residents of Rio Vista Detroit Co-op Apartments senior living center will receive deliveries from the Ford Resource and Engagement Center (FREC) on the Go, launched earlier this year by Ford Fund and Gleaners Community Food Bank. 

“We’re constantly thinking about how to expand our reach in communities for those who don’t have access to the most basic goods, like groceries or warm meals,” said Joe Provenzano, mobility director, Ford Motor Company Fund. “Bringing Ford’s mobility expertise together with local collaborations allows us to create innovative solutions that make communities stronger and people’s lives better.”

“CSI and Rio Vista Detroit Co-op are incredibly excited for this collaboration with Ford Motor Company,” added Eric Finkler, co-op liaison, Rio Vista Detroit. “For many seniors in this community, access to transportation is integral for retaining their independence, and the automated vehicle delivery program will help expand our members’ access to groceries, easing one barrier to independent living."

The pilot will utilize a low-speed autonomous shuttle operated by the Ford future tech autonomous vehicle team and Quantum Signal AI, a wholly owned Ford subsidiary. The pilot vehicle has been upfitted by Ford’s experience design team for efficient packing and transit of fresh food items and for easy loading and unloading. An exterior design on the shuttle representing the Southwest Detroit neighborhood, created by Detroit School of Arts 12th-grader Brooke Snow, displays an inclusive message of community. 

“Creating mobility experiences centered around people and being inclusive is at the forefront of our thinking as we design future services,” said Robert Moser, global head of experience design, Ford Motor Company. “By collaborating with the community and showcasing this artwork throughout the duration of the pilot, it conveys how we are thinking about building services that make people’s lives better for all – not just one specific group.”

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