Ford and Domino's Pizza team up for autonomous Fusion delivery car. Drivers delivering pizzas are probably not finding this slice of the future too tasty.
While Mercedes is putting to good use its autonomous knowhow by enabling the S-Class to drive itself off the assembly line, Ford has found a more delicious way to evaluate its continuously developing self-driving technology. It has joined forces with Domino’s Pizza for a trial run in Ann Arbor, Michigan where randomly selected customers will have the chance to get their pizzas from a Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Research Vehicle packed with sensors and radars.
There will still be someone on the driver’s seat as a safety engineer from the Blue Oval company will control the car and he is going to share the midsize sedan’s cabin with researchers keeping a close eye on everything that’s happening. Should you wish to participate in the trial run, you’ll be able to use a new version of the Domino’s Tracker app to track the delivery car via GPS if you don't have something else better to do...
When the autonomous Fusion will be close to your house, a text message will automatically be sent in order to find out how to obtain the pizza by using a unique code. You'll need it to unlock what is described as being Domino’s Heatwave Compartment, installed on the rear seats.
Speaking about the newly established tie-up, Domino’s president and CEO said the following:
“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.”
Sherif Marakby, Ford vice president, Autonomous and Electric Vehicles, also had something to say about the interesting partnership:
“As we increase our understanding of the business opportunity for self-driving vehicles to support the movement of people and goods, we’re pleased to have Domino’s join us in this important part of the development process.”
Bear in mind it won’t be the first autonomous pizza delivery trial run ever as Domino’s Pizza Enterprises used drones and self-driving robots in New Zealand and Australia to deliver the delicious food in 2016. In addition, six-wheeled, self-driving delivery robots developed by Starship Technologies are in charge of delivering Domino’s pizzas in Germany and The Netherlands.
By eliminating the pizza delivery driver, a question arises: Who are we supposed to tip now?
Gallery: Domino's Pizza Autonomous Ford Fusion
DOMINO'S® AND FORD BEGIN CONSUMER RESEARCH OF PIZZA DELIVERY USING SELF-DRIVING VEHICLES
ANN ARBOR, Mich., Aug. 29, 2017 – Domino's Pizza (NYSE: DPZ), the recognized world leader in pizza delivery, and Ford Motor Co. are launching an industry-first collaboration to understand the role that self-driving vehicles can play in pizza delivery.
As part of the testing, researchers from both companies will investigate customer reactions to interacting with a self-driving vehicle as a part of their delivery experience. This research is important as both companies begin to examine and understand customers’ perspectives around the future of food delivery with self-driving vehicles.
“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,” said Patrick Doyle, Domino’s president and CEO. “We pride ourselves on being technology leaders and are excited to help lead research into how self-driving vehicles may play a role in the future of pizza delivery. This is the first step in an ongoing process of testing that we plan to undertake with Ford.”
As Ford builds out its business enabled by self-driving vehicles, conducting research with companies, like Domino’s, will be crucial to ensuring that the technology is applied in ways that enhance the customer experience. With a plan to begin production of self-driving vehicles in 2021, Ford is taking steps to design a business to meet the needs of both partner companies and their customers.
“As we increase our understanding of the business opportunity for self-driving vehicles to support the movement of people and goods, we’re pleased to have Domino’s join us in this important part of the development process,” said Sherif Marakby, Ford vice president, Autonomous and Electric Vehicles. “As a company focused on the customer experience, Domino’s shares our vision for a future enabled by smart vehicles in a smart environment that enhance people’s lives.”
Over the next several weeks, randomly-selected Domino’s customers in Ann Arbor will have the opportunity to receive their delivery order from a Ford Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Research Vehicle, which will be manually-driven by a Ford safety engineer and staffed with researchers. Customers who agree to participate will be able to track the delivery vehicle through GPS using an upgraded version of Domino’s Tracker®. They will also receive text messages as the self-driving vehicle approaches that will guide them on how to retrieve their pizza using a unique code to unlock the Domino’s Heatwave Compartment™ inside the vehicle.
“We’re interested to learn what people think about this type of delivery,” said Russell Weiner, president of Domino’s USA. “The majority of our questions are about the last 50 feet of the delivery experience. For instance, how will customers react to coming outside to get their food? We need to make sure the interface is clear and simple. 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.”
Local partner Roush Enterprises fabricated the prototype vehicle’s pizza container, Domino’s Heatwave Compartment, based on its experience working with Domino’s on the DXP® delivery vehicle in 2015. Ford and Domino’s completed preliminary testing of the delivery process using the vehicle in self-driving mode at Mcity, the simulated urban environment on the University of Michigan’s campus. The city of Ann Arbor also has been supportive of the testing process.
“I’m delighted that Ann Arbor continues to be at the forefront of autonomous-vehicle research,” said Ann Arbor Mayor Christopher Taylor. “While it’s pizza delivery today, my hope is that collaborations such as this will enable even more innovations tomorrow.”