Domino’s and Ford have partnered to test a self-driving pizza delivery service to customers in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The partnership will be part of Ford’s research into how customers respond and interact with self-driving vehicles.
Randomly selected customers will have the option of trying the self-driving delivery service, according to The Verge. An engineer will be driving the vehicle and researchers will be in the back, taking notes.
The customers will retrieve the pizza by using a unique four digit code that opens the Heatwave Compartment, where the pizzas are kept warm. Ford is looking to see if customers are nervous picking the delivery up from outside their home and how their interact with the car’s screens.
“We don’t want to wait until we get everything done on the tech and remove the driver,” said Sherif Marakby, vice president of Ford’s autonomous vehicles division. “We’re trying to start doing the research. We still are working on the technology, because it’s not ready to be put on public streets. It’s simulating that the vehicle is in autonomous mode.”
Domino’s recently announced its very own vehicle for delivering pizza, the DXP. The car is built for endurance and accessibility, two features that Marakby sees as key in the delivery business.
The restaurant chain has tested robots and drone delivery services as well, as a possible way of delivering pizza faster in heavily congested cities.
Ford wants to have a self-driving vehicle road ready by 2021 and is looking at taxi and delivery services as the key benefactors of its autonomous technology. The company may start by selling its vehicles directly to businesses, before launching a commercial vehicle for individuals.
It has pledged to spend $1 billion over five years to Argo AI, an artificial intelligence startup.