Ford unveiled a new concept at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona today: an electric self-driving delivery van that can launch a fleet of drones to pick up and drop off packages in hard-to-reach places. The automaker said the idea fits into its self-styled “City of Tomorrow,” a high concept vision of the future involving autonomous vehicles, ride-sharing, and a bevy of other transportation buzz words.
“Autolivery,” as the concept is called, is geared toward solving the last-mile challenge in delivery, specifically the last 15 meters between the delivery truck and the drop-off. The drones will come in handy when dealing with deliveries in dense, urban areas, where parking is impractical and people live in high-rise apartment buildings. And as more people shop online, the pressure to improve the efficiency of delivery services will grow.