The goal of the joint project from Ford and Domino’s is to get a better understanding of the possible use of self-driving automobiles at the delivery of pizza. Engineers of the two companies want to investigate how customers react on autonomous pizza delivery services. “As experts in delivery services, we are watching the development of self-driving vehicles with great interest, because we believe that it can cause far-reaching changes in our trade,” comments Domino’s president and CEO, Patrick Doyle.
The tests with autonomously driving vehicles take place in Ann Arbor, a medium-sized town in the US state of Michigan with some 115.000 inhabitants. Randomly selected Domino’s customers are served by means of Ford Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Vehicles. For safety reasons however, these cars do not drive completely autonomously but have instead a Ford engineer on board. What’s more, two additional test experts take their seats in the rear. Customers can track the position of the delivery vehicle via GPS and a smartphone app. In addition, they receive continuously the current position of the vehicle via text message.
With all that effort, the test developers have also thought of the fact that the pizza is protected from the access of hungry engineers and does not get cold on the road: It is placed in a heated compartment in the car that only the customer can open, with a code the delivery service sends to him.