Ford and Domino's partner to deliver pizzas with self-driving cars
Ford Motor Company and Domino's Pizza are launching a collaboration to test whether self-driving cars will have a place in the food delivery world, namely delivering pizzas.
The project will aim to evaluate how customers will interact with a driverless vehicle and whether it will alter their perspective on the service.
Randomly chosen Domino's customers in Ann Arbor, Michigan, will be able to choose whether they wish to receive their pizza from a Ford Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Vehicle - but the vehicle will not be driving itself all the way.
Delivery vehicles will house researchers and be manually-driven by a Ford software engineer, whilst customers will be able to track their pizza through GPS and then receive a text message detailing how they receive their food once the vehicle is in range.
This project is focussed on the last 50 feet of the delivery: "How will customers react to coming outside to get their food?" proposed Domino's USA president Russell Weiner.
"We need to understand if a customer’s experience is different if the car is parked in the driveway versus next to the curb."
"All of our testing research is focused on our goal to someday make deliveries with self-driving vehicles as seamless and customer-friendly as possible."
Patrick Doyle, Domino’s president and CEO, commented: "As delivery experts, we’ve been watching the development of self-driving vehicles with great interest as we believe transportation is undergoing fundamental, dramatic change."
"We are excited to help lead research into how self-driving vehicles may play a role in the future of pizza delivery, and this is just the first step in an ongoing process."
Current plans from Ford say production of self-driving vehicles will begin in 2021, with this move a step to design a business that can meet the needs of the company and the customer.
Sherif Marakby, vice president of Ford's Autonomous and Electric Vehicles arm, commented: "Domino’s shares our vision for a future enabled by smart vehicles in a smart environment that enhance people’s lives."
"This project is helping to increase our understanding of the business opportunity for self-driving vehicles to support the movement of people and goods in a way that promotes excellent customer service."