No Tip Needed: Domino's Pizza Tests Driverless Delivery Car in Ann Arbor
August 29th, 2017, 8:43 AM
Driverless cars aren't a concept of tomorrow.
Ann-Arbor based Domino's and Ford are delivering pizzas in Ann Arbor with a driverless car. No tip is required.
A driver will be present during the test period, though tinted windows may keep customers from knowing that. A news release says:
Over the next several weeks, randomly selected Domino's customers in Ann Arbor will have the opportunity to receive their delivery order from a Ford Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Research Vehicle, which will be manually-driven by a Ford safety engineer and staffed with researchers.
Customers who agree to participate will be able to track the delivery vehicle through GPS using an upgraded version of Domino's Tracker.
They will also receive text messages as the self-driving vehicle approaches that will guide them on how to retrieve their pizza using a unique code to unlock the Domino's Heatwave Compartment inside the vehicle.
"We're interested to learn what people think about this type of delivery," says 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. All of our testing research is focused on our goal to someday make deliveries with self-driving vehicles as seamless and customer-friendly as possible."
Patrick Doyle, Domino's president and CEO, adds :
"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. We pride ourselves on being technology leaders and are excited to help lead research into how self-driving vehicles may play a role in the future of pizza delivery. This is the first step in an ongoing process of testing that we plan to undertake with Ford."
For now, Domino's will just use one car, the Detroit Free Press reports.
Sherif Marakby, Ford's vice president of autonomous and electric vehicles. tells the paper that Michigan laws don't let vehicles use public streets in a full self-driving mode
Ann Arbor Mayor Christopher Taylor applauds the test, saying:
"I'm delighted that Ann Arbor continues to be at the forefront of autonomous-vehicle research. While it's pizza delivery today, my hope is that collaborations such as this will enable even more innovations tomorrow."