If Amazon can deliver your merchandise using drones, why can’t you get a pizza delivered by a self-driving car? Domino’s is working on that technology with Ford to make that a reality.
The experiment is about to begin in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where Domino’s and Ford have assembled a team of engineers and other experts to begin working on the latest in pizza delivery technology. A Ford Fusion Hybrid will be used for research purposes to monitor how customers feel about having an automatic delivery vehicle delivering pizza to their driveway. This is just the first step in the process that could lead to one day having a self-driving car taking your piping hot pizza from your local Dominos to your driveway. For now, that is still down the road for the research team. The focus now is figuring out how to get the self-driving cars to safely drive the streets in a real life environment and how customers want to interact with the car once the pizza has arrived.
“We don’t want to wait until we get everything done on the tech and remove the driver,” Ford’s vice president for autonomous vehicles Sherif Marakby said in a story published by The Verge. “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.”
Questions about what happens at the delivery point are important for determining if this is a worthwhile venture for Domino’s. One of the perks of having delivery is not having to go out to get your food when it is ready, but how willing are you to take your card out to the driveway and swipe your card in the driveway on the car? If it’s raining or snowing, doesn’t that somewhat defeat the purpose of getting delivery in the first place? These are important questions for Domino’s.
Google has been working on self-driving car technology for some time now, and it may just become a feature of the future on the roads if it can prove to be safe for all travelers. Where we go from here is fascinating to think about. Imagine a world in which you can place your pizza order using an app on your phone and then have it delivered by a car with no driver. In my mind, that means a robotic device takes the pizza out of the in-car oven and to your front door, where you then scan a code from your phone into the robot to pay for your pizza.
A guy can dream, can’t he?
[The Verge/Photo: Ford]