Does this mean no more tipping?
It was inevitable this would happen, and Ford and Domino's Pizza just so happen to be the first to try this experiment. The two companies have teamed up for the first self-driving pizza delivery vehicles. For now, this is simply an experiment limited to Ann Arbor, Michigan, and researchers from both companies will delve into consumers' reactions to a non-human delivery experience. Over the next several weeks, randomly-selected city residents will be offered the chance to have their pies delivered by a Ford Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Research Vehicle.
However, it will still be manually-driven by a Ford safety engineer. These selected customers can monitor the status of their order through an upgraded version of Domino's Pizza Tracker, now equipped with GPS vehicle tracking. Customers will also be sent text messages starting when the self-driving Fusion is almost at its location. At the same time and because this is all new, customers will also be texted a guide on how to retrieve their pizza with a unique code that'll unlock Domino's Heatwave Compartment inside the car. Ford wants to begin building self-driving cars in 2021, and it needs to practice real world experiences before that gets underway. Not surprisingly, pizza delivery, via self-driving vehicles, is something Ford wants to master.
As for Domino's involvement in this experiment, it's "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." As for the profession of pizza delivery guy or gal, well, its days could be numbered.