General Motors' self-driving unit, Cruise, has partnered with food delivery service DoorDash to pilot autonomous food deliveries.
The estimated partnership will test meal and grocery deliveries in March, with initial focus in the San Francisco area, the companies said on Thursday.
"Delivery is a significant opportunity for Cruise as we prepare to commercialize our autonomous vehicle technology and transform transportation," Cruise CEO Dan Ammann said in a statement. "Partnering with DoorDash will provide us with critical learnings as we further our mission to deliver technology that makes people's lives better and more convenient."
A DoorDash spokesperson told Automotive News that the initial focus for the program, also referred to as the "runner system," is to move orders from the merchant to the autonomous vehicles. Customers will then receive a notification when the self-driving vehicle is near the customer address.
Mobility partnerships are becoming more common, especially as automakers continue to strategize toward an autonomous future. In the last year, Ford Motor Co. has been analyzing its delivery potential of autonomous vehicles through its Dominos Pizza and Postmates partnerships. Ford announced in October that it would expand its self-driving pizza delivery services at the beginning of 2019 in Washington, D.C.
A Cruise spokesman did not comment on potential competition for the autonomous food deliveries sector but instead told Automotive News: "We see the delivery business as a sector with tremendous potential for AVs and look forward to learning from our partnership with DoorDash."
Cruise, which last year attracted investments from the SoftBank Vision Fund of Japan and Honda Motor Co., has a valuation of about $14.6 billion. Ammann officially became CEO of Cruise this week after leaving his post as president of GM. Mark Reuss on Thursday was named GM's new president.