An autonomous Ford Fusion will deliver Domino's in MI

Javier Howell
August 30, 2017

Domino's will randomly select customers in Ann Arbor over the next several weeks who will receive their order from a Ford Fusion Autonomous Research Vehicle, which will, for now, be manually driven by a Ford safety engineer and staffed with researchers.

"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", Domino's CEO and president Patrick Doyle said in a press release. A Ford safety engineer and staff will be sitting inside the auto.

The question is, will people who are used to having a pizza delivered to their door be happy instead to exert themselves by monitoring the delivery on a smartphone app, walking out of their front door, down the path or steps, then opening the vehicle, using a special code to open the special oven, taking the pizza out, and then walking all the way back to their homes?

The vehicle will have a Ford safety engineer on board, mind, along with a few researchers, too.

Dude, it's delivering Domino's in a college town. Although they've assured customers that the cars won't accept gratuities. Differences from a standard delivery include being able to track the auto via Global Positioning System as it drives to you, and being able to pay and retrieve the pizza without interacting with an actual human. Or do we need to park in their driveway? The key departure from tradition is that rather than Domino's coming straight to their door, customers will have to meet the vehicle curbside, which both companies are eager to make as comfortable an adjustment as possible.

He called it "the first step in an ongoing process of testing that we plan to undertake with Ford".

Self-driving cars appear to be the future of personal transport, but they could also be the future of takeaways.

. Otto, a startup backed by Uber, delivered 50,000 cans of Budweiser beer from a self-driving truck in Colorado last fall.

An unconventional partnership could provide new insight into the use of autonomous vehicles for delivery. Domino's wants to see how well customers deal with coming out and getting their own pie from what is, basically, a pizza ATM built into the vehicle.

Domino's Pizza was founded in 1960, with the establishment of two restaurants in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti.

In this Ford-Domino's test run - the autonomous cars will stop outside the customer's home, so there won't be a knock on the door.

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