Alright, pizza can’t drive a car quite yet, but the car that delivers your pizza might be an autonomous vehicle.
Ford Motor Company and Domino’s Pizza are working together to see if they can figure out how to get you pie delivered by a car with no driver. The tests are being carried out in Ann Arbor, Mi., where a self-driving Ford Fusion Hybrid will start pushing pizzas to customers.
Both companies are keenly interested in understanding consumer reactions to getting a pizza delivered by a driverless car. The companies tested out the vehicle and the pizza drop in Ford’s MCity, which is a 32-acre autonomous car test site in Ann Arbor. Both companies understand that self-driving technology will have a profound impact on their respective businesses. The rush is on to see who and how they can integrate these technologies with real world experiences.
While Ford gets to test autonomous driving in the wild, Domino’s is focused on the “last 50 feet” of the experience and, more specifically, how will customers feel about having to go outside to get a pizza out of the car. The pizza company outfitted the car with a metal box in the back passenger side window that will house the pizza and can be accessed by a security code that will be sent to the customer when the pizza arrives. The customer can also track the status of their order on their phones.
Now, before you get too freaked out about the headless horseman dropping by with your pie, be aware that the car will have a Ford safety expert on board throughout to make sure that it all runs smoothly. Domino’s customers will have the option to get their delivery autonomously or by an actual person for the time being. So it looks like the days where you worried whether the delivery person was chomping down on your slice, or doing something worse, may just be coming to an end. On the other hand, the robots are set to replace another few hundred thousand jobs. No big.