Published: Wed, August 30, 2017
Markets | By Erika Turner

Domino's and Ford Are Testing Self-driving Pizza Delivery Cars

Domino's and Ford Are Testing Self-driving Pizza Delivery Cars

Ford and Domino's are teaming up on a research to see if Ford's autonomous cars can deliver pizzas to regular customers. Those living in Ann Arbor, MI. are the lucky few who get to test this new service first. Tests with restaurant chains, such as Domino's, help create opportunities for companies to purchase the vehicles down the road, especially as the average American remains unsure about the idea of self-driving vehicles. Ford is testing self-driving cars on public roads in other places but this test is really about customer acceptance of the technology, a Ford spokesman said, not whether the auto can drive itself.

Russell Weiner, president of Domino's U.S., said: "We're interested to learn what people think about this type of delivery".

"We're still focused on the last 50 feet. We need to make sure the interface is clear and simple", Weiner said in a statement. "We must put the customer experience at the forefront of our thinking so self-driving vehicles improve the lives of people, the operations of our partner companies, and the mobility within our communities", Marakby wrote.

Domino's and Ford have worked together on a number of projects in the past, including in building a way to order pizzas via Ford's in-car SYNC software and apps platform. This compartment keeps the pizza warm during its autonomous journey.

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The vehicle will be occupied by a Ford safety engineer during the research period. "That's a big challenge - getting (the pizza) from the curb to the door", admitted Domino's spokeswoman Jenny Fouracre. Although they've assured customers that the cars won't accept gratuities. We're going to need to talk about curbside management. It will be deployed over the next several weeks, so if you're a resident of Ann Arbor, you just might be lucky enough to have it drop by if you place a Dominos' order. In addition to being the home of both Domino's headquarters and thousands of hungry college students at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor is home to the Mcity autonomous test track, where Ford has extensively tested its autonomous Fusions.

That could be a huge market that Ford, with its decades of commercial-fleet expertise, could be in a position to dominate - if it can come up with automated delivery vehicles that work well with human customers.

Not just autonomous cars, but delivery trucks and vans too, wiping out millions of jobs in the United Kingdom as computers do the job the driver once did. Marakby said in a blog post last week that those uses could include delivery of goods in addition to services like ride-sharing and ride-hailing.

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