Self-driving pizza delivery cars? Ford and Domino's are on it

Making pizza deliveries with self-driving cars

Customers can track the delivery vehicle through via an upgraded version of Domino's Tracker and text message updates. Domino's will send a unique code for every order, which the customer will use to unlock a special heated compartment in the vehicle that holds the pizza. The test cars will actually be manually driven by a Ford safety engineer and staffed with researchers, according to the release. In 2016, it tested prototypes of the first ever autonomous delivery vehicle in Brisbane, Australia. In the absence of such work, many people have turned to low-paying service industry positions-like, oh, delivering pizzas-to make ends meet. The research comes as Ford closes in on its goal of deploying Level 4 autonomous vehicles-those with systems that can handle all operations in specific areas-by 2021.

Domino's has been experimenting with high-tech delivery methods for years, from UAVs to drones with wheels.

Food deliveries to the home typically end with someone knocking on your door to hand over the food order.

Domino's wants to see how people feel about walking outside to get their pizza, opposed to door delivery. Or do we need to park in their driveway?

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While driverless deliveries might be welcomed by those in sunny California, the question is how customers will respond when they have to get dressed up to go outside in a MI snowstorm, or even in the heavy rains that hit the region on Tuesday night. But we'll know Ford is truly serious about this specific market if they start testing much smaller vehicles that are custom-built for deliveries. There will still be a human inside the vehicle while it makes its deliveries, but they won't be driving. The research team won't just be collecting the typical on-road data from sensors and cameras that autonomous test cars usually record - they'll also be tasked with observing how the customers respond to the cars. While a lot of those vehicles will likely be passenger cars or vans for use in urban ride-hailing services, Ford is also exploring the idea of self-driving delivery vehicles (for all kinds of things, not just pizzas).

In the Ann Arbor test, customers have to walk out to the parked auto and retrieve their pizza from the vehicle's "Heatwave Compartment" themselves.

Domino's Pizza [NYSE:DPZ] and Ford Motor Company [NYSE:F] announced this morning that the two firms are working together to pioneer a self-driving automobile that delivers pizza.

"But, ultimately, self-driving vehicles must improve people's lives".

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