Domino’s and Ford testing self-driving pizza delivery

  • 17 September 2017
  • Written by: The Secret Sanctum Team

Domino’s and Ford testing self-driving pizza delivery.

Domino’s Pizza, the recognized world leader in pizza delivery, and Ford Motor Co. are launching an industry-first collaboration to understand the role that self-driving vehicles can play in pizza delivery.

As part of the testing, researchers from both companies will investigate customer reactions to interacting with a self-driving vehicle as a part of their delivery experience.  This research is important as both companies begin to examine and understand customers’ perspectives around the future of food delivery with self-driving vehicles.

Over the next five weeks, randomly selected customers around Ann Arbor, Michigan, will be offered the option of getting their pizza delivered by the hi-tech “driverless” car, a Ford Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Research Vehicle.

Customers who agree to participate will be able to track the delivery vehicle through GPS using an upgraded version of Domino’s Tracker®. They will also receive text messages as the self-driving vehicle approaches that will guide them on how to retrieve their pizza using a unique code to unlock the Domino’s Heatwave Compartment™ inside the vehicle.

Cameras on the car and inside the warming compartment will capture how the customer retrieves the order.

“How will customers react to coming outside to get their food?” Domino’s president Russell Weiner said in a statement, “We need to make sure the interface is clear and simple. The human aspect is the most significant piece here”.

The majority of the questions are about the last 50 feet of the delivery experience.

The real test here isn’t for the drivers, or even the self-driving aspects of the cars used, it’s all about the end user, and what they think of taking their hot pizza pies from something other than a person.

What about when it’s raining? What about the snowy days? What about the fact that I eat pizza in my pajamas? Are people going to feel comfortable with that?

Ford is in talks with other potential partners, including grocery chains, to test various delivery methods, Sherif Marakby, Ford’s vice president of autonomous and electric vehicles, said in a phone interview, according to Bloomberg. He declined to say whether Ford is talking to Amazon, which recently acquired Whole Foods grocery.

With a plan to begin production of self-driving vehicles in 2021, Ford is taking steps to design a business to meet the needs of both partner companies and their customers.

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