Ford and Domino’s Pizza are coming together for testing self-driving pizza delivery cars in the U.S. state of Michigan. The aim of this initiative is to understand better the customer responses and interactions with autonomous vehicles.
The upcoming weeks will see randomly selected customers of Domino’s in Ann Arbor of Michigan, incorporating with this project. They will get a chance to accept deliveries from an autonomous research vehicle, a Ford Fusion Hybrid. But, this car will not be driving itself.
Rather, all of these cars will have a safety engineer of Ford as the driver. Also, there will be other researchers onboard. These researchers will have the mission to jot down customer experiences within the last 50 feet.
Words from Ford and Domino’s
According to Sherif Marakby, the project is ethnographic research. He is the VP of Ford Autonomous Vehicles and Electrification. He further said that they “still are working on the technology”. It is yet to be ready to put on for the public. The cars are into the autonomous mode, he finished.
Marakby also stated that this is one of the many of their partnerships with other companies. This is in terms of Ford’s autonomous vehicle testing. He expressed that this will help his company in the development and further growth.
On the other hand, Russell Weiner said that they are looking forward to understanding how people perceive this delivery type. Russell is the president of Domino’s USA.
The role of self-driving pizza delivery cars
Now, let’s find out how it all works. People participating in the test will be able to track their respective orders through a Domino’s app. They will receive a distinctive quote matching the last four digits of their phone numbers. This will be used in unlocking the Heatwave Compartment of the car that keeps the pizzas warm. It is positioned at the back of the car. People will receive updated information through speakers and screens on the car exterior.
Areas of Focus of the Team
As for the areas of focus for the Ford and Domino’s team, they come in 3 major criteria. Firstly, they want to know how willful the customers are for coming outside to receive their orders. Then, how would they approach the car – is another understanding the team is looking for. Last but not least, they want to find out the ways of how customers interact with the exterior screen.
Ford and Domino’s on AI
Similar to various other carmakers, Ford has also invested heavily in autonomous technology. Its self-driving cars will be available in the market by 2021. Furthermore, Ford announced earlier this year, plans for investing $1 billion in Argo AI. It is an artificial intelligence startup.
Marakby said in this regard that the human aspect is “the most significant piece here”. Technology creation must be based on the human element of the usage ways, as he finished.
In the same context, Domino’s went through quite a lot of delivery technologies. One most mentionable among others is the Siri-like digital assistant, which receives orders. Delivery robots are another technology that Domino’s experienced with.