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Domino’s has begun testing delivering pizzas in Michigan via self-driving cars. The company is working with Ford Motor Company to understand how customers will react to having an autonomous vehicle as part of the delivery process.
Randomly-selected Domino’s customers in Ann Arbor, Michigan, will be able to request their pizza be delivered by a Ford Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Research Vehicle, although the car will be driven manually by a Ford safety engineer initially.
“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,” Sherif Marakby, Ford’s vice president for autonomous and electric vehicles said in a press release. “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.”
When the car arrives, customers will receive a text message on how to pick up their pizza from the vehicle. Each customer will be given a unique code to unlock a special compartment inside the car.
“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.”
Ford and Domino’s completed preliminary testing of the self-driving delivery with the car in fully autonomous mode at Mcity, the simulated urban environment on the campus of the University of Michigan, and is now expanded the testing to Ann Arbor.