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Self-driving cars will soon deliver food

Food delivery service DoorDash announced it is teaming up with General Motors to test using self-driving cars to deliver meals and groceries in San Francisco. A pilot program with the US automaker's Cruise Automation division will start in March, according to the San Francisco-based startup launched in 2013 by Stanford University students.

“We're kicking off our pilot in San Francisco, a complex and intricate city where Cruise has been testing vehicles for the past three years,” DoorDash special projects operations lead Penn Daniel said. “We look forward to scaling and improving the delivery experience.”

DoorDash has created a system to move food from merchants to autonomous vehicles, then notify customers when orders are on the cusp of arrival, according to Daniel. The alliance adds to growing ranks of companies out to automate “last mile” deliveries with robotic carts or aerial drones that autonomously navigate payloads to destinations.

Major automakers, startups and tech firms are racing to develop truly autonomous vehicles, which the industries see as the next frontier in personal mobility. Japanese carmaker Honda late last year joined forces with General Motors tech startup Cruise to develop autonomous vehicles.

Alphabet-owned Waymo early last year announced it was adding as many as 62,000 Fiat Chrysler minivans to its autonomous fleet in an expanded collaboration announced by the companies.