The coming of age of door-to-door pizza delivery through autonomous self-driving vehicles.
Domino’s Pizza and Ford Motor Co have disclosed that their colloboration in delivering pizzas through self-driving car technology is set to be tested in Michigan in September to test consumers’ reactions.
Incidentally this is not the first time that companies have toyed with the idea of an advanced pizza delivery system.
Australia-based Domino’s Pizza Enterprises, the Ann Arbor-based company’s largest independent franchisee, has tested delivery to customers in New Zealand via drone and self-driving robot.
In a development that underscores Ford’s broader ambition, last week, Sherif Marakby, the head of Ford Motor’s autonomous and electric vehicles division blogged that Ford plans on colloborating with “with multiple partners” in deploying self-driving vehicles “designed to improve the movement of people and goods.”
Earlier, Ford’s executives had stated that the company expects to launch a self-driving shuttle for commercial ride-sharing fleets in 2021. This test should be seen in that context.
In a joint statement, both companies have disclosed that they will deliver pizzas to randomly selected customers in the Ann Arbor area. The autonomous vehicle will be a Ford Fusion Hybrid, and will initially be piloted by human drivers.
Once customers have been selected, they will be in a position to track the delivery process vide GPS and will receive SMSs on how to retrieve their pizzas when the delivery vehicle arrives.
With autonomous self-driving set to become a norm in 2020, a number of startups are targetting delivery services, with many experimenting with on-demand delivery of various packages, including beverages, groceries, and ready-to-eat food.
The jury is still out on whether automation technology can mitigate complex delivery problems, including delivering pizzas economically to the fifth floor of a college dorm. Although the upcoming test in September is not attempting to resolve that conundrum, since its targeting a door-to-door delivery service.
“We’re still focused on the last 50 feet,” said Domino’s spokeswoman Jenny Fouracre. “That’s a big challenge – getting (the pizza) from the curb to the door.”