Domino’s and Ford to test self-driving pizza delivery cars

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Domino’s and Ford to test self-driving pizza delivery cars

Ford and Domino’s Pizza will collaborate soon to test self-driving pizza delivery cars in the State of Michigan in the USA.

The two companies are trying to better understand how customers respond to and interact with autonomous vehicles.

In the next few week, randomly selected Domino’s customers in Ann Arbor, Michigan will give customers the option to accept pizza deliveries from a Ford Fusion Hybrid autonomous research vehicle.

The only thing is that the car won’t be driving by itself at this early stage but will be under the control of an engineer during the testing phase.

Each car will be driven by a Ford safety engineer, with other researchers on board who will focus specifically on the last 50 feet of the customer experience.

The Vice President of Ford Autonomous Vehicles and Electrification, Sherif Marakby, described the project as ethnographic in nature.

“We don’t want to wait until we get everything done on the tech and remove the driver. We’re trying to start doing the research. We still are working on the technology, because it’s not ready to be put on public streets,” he said. “It’s simulating that the vehicle is in autonomous mode.”

Those who participate in the test can track their order through a Domino’s app and will receive a unique code that matches the last four digits of their phone number to be used to unlock the so-called Heatwave Compartment — a container that keeps pizzas warm in the back of the car. Information will be communicated through screens and speakers on the exterior of the cars.

The President of Domino’s USA, Russell Weiner, said in a statement.

“We’re interested to learn what people think about this type of delivery,”

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

Areas of focus include how willing are people to come outside to pick up their orders, the way they approach the car, and how they interact with the screen outside of the vehicle to get the food.

Marakby said this is the first of multiple partnership between Ford and other companies as part of efforts to ramp up autonomous vehicle testing.

“The key thing is that our development is going to benefit from these partnerships,” Marakby said. “We will incorporate changes when we launch at scale in 2021, whether it’s perishable or non-perishable deliveries.”

Ford have invested heavily in autonomous technology, with the goal of bringing self-driving cars to market by 2021.

Earlier this year, the company announced plans to invest $1 billion in Argo AI, an artificial intelligence startup.

“The human aspect is the most significant piece here. We know we can create technology, but it has to be based on the human element of how we’re using the AVs,”

Marakby went on to say that Domino’s has experimented with different gimmicky delivery method technologies in the past, as well, including a Siri-like digital assistant that can receive orders and a fleet of delivery robots.

(As always, if you or a family member are considering buying a used car, don’t buy until you run a car check report with where you will find out the true history of the vehicle.)


Justin Kavanagh
Justin Kavanagh is a recognised leader in automotive intelligence and vehicle data supply to the entire motor industry. He has almost 20 years experience in building systems from the ground up. As the Managing Director of Vehicle Management System, he understands the need and importance of trustworthy and reliable vehicle history and advice to both the trade and the public.
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