When you call Domino’s to order a pizza, the delivery guy will bring it to you 30 minutes later but it is possible that one day in the future, you won’t see him any longer. If a project Ford is working on proves viable, your pizza could, in future, be delivered by a car – with no driver inside!
The project, jointly carried out by Ford and Domino’s Pizza in America is to examine the role that self-driving vehicles can play in pizza delivery.
As part of the testing, researchers from both companies will investigate customer reactions to interacting with a self-driving vehicle as a part of their delivery experience. This research is important as both companies begin to examine and understand customers’ perspectives around the future of food delivery with self-driving vehicles.
“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,” said Patrick Doyle, Domino’s President & CEO.
As Ford builds its business enabled by self-driving vehicles, conducting research with companies, like Domino’s, will be crucial to ensuring that the technology is applied in ways that enhance the customer experience. With a plan to begin production of self-driving vehicles in 2021, Ford is taking steps to design a business to meet the needs of both partner companies and their customers.
“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,” said Sherif Marakby, Ford Vice-President, Autonomous and Electric Vehicles. “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.”
During the project period, randomly-selected Domino’s customers in an American city will have the opportunity to receive their delivery order from a Ford Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Research Vehicle, which will be 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,” 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. 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.”