Self-driving pizza delivery cars to be tested in the US

30 August, 2017, 01:43 | Author: Barbara Daniel
  • Ford Domino's Self Driving Fusion

The Ford Fusions will have self-driving capabilities but will be operated by a safety engineering and staffed with researchers. Over the next five weeks, randomly selected customers around Ann Arbor, Michigan, will be offered the option of getting their pizza delivered by the hi-tech "driverless" vehicle.

The initial focus of our research together is understanding the last 50 feet of the delivery experience.

Customers who participate in the test will get a text message telling them that their pizza is ready. According to Sherif Marakby, VP of Autonomous and Electric Vehicles at Ford, the customer and user experience is a core part of the autonomous driving platform that it's creating. On Tuesday, they agreed to carpool on autonomous driving services, with self-driving Ford cars delivering Domino's pies.

The auto will have a Ford safety engineer on board, mind, along with a few researchers, too. Researchers from both firms will research the customers' reaction and perspectives on having their food delivered by a robotic vehicle. Both segments are growth markets - food delivery revenue is expected to grow from $13 billion to $39 billion in the next five years - that can be served by self-driving vehicles. But perhaps in an attempt to thrust itself into a new industry, the vehicle manufacturer evidently wants to partner with a corporation that is adept at the food-delivery business.

For this test, a Ford engineer will be at the wheel.

In the future, there may no longer be a need to tip the pizza-delivery guy. Solving that challenge could have big implications for companies like Amazon, FedEx, and UPS, which undoubtedly will be curious about any insights the Ford and Domino's experiment yields.

Domino's interest in driverless delivery should be no surprise.

Customers must punch a code into a keypad on the delivery vehicle to get their order from the heated storage area on the vehicle. Pizza-lovers in Ann Arbor, Michigan are about to get lucky because the pizza chain will be rolling out the vehicles in their town throughout next few weeks. Marakby said in a blog post last week that those uses could include delivery of goods in addition to services like ride-sharing and ride-hailing. "To help us build a viable business, we intend to work with multiple partners in the coming months to understand what self-driving technology can enable when applied with a human-centered approach".

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