This is what the marvel of technology is truly supposed to be used for.
Starting tomorrow, Domino’s is partnering with Ford and will begin testing driverless delivery cars to bring pizza to the hungry masses in the pizza company’s hometown of Ann Arbor, Michigan. The pizzas will arrive in a Ford Fusion outfitted with several cameras and radars. A ford engineer will be behind the wheel, but windows will be tinted so that customers will not interact with the driver.
There is only one test car in Ann Arbor and it’s decked out in a signature black and white paint job to signify it is a research vehicle. This initial test will last six weeks.
Here’s how it works: a customer will place an order normally, then randomly be notified if they want to participate in this new method. If they agree, a text message will notify them when the pizza arrives, prompting them to come out of their home and type a four digit code into a keypad mounted on the car. If entered correctly, the rear window will open and let hungry patrons retrieve their prize from a heated compartment. Domino’s has said the compartment can carry up to four pizzas and five sides.
“We believe transportation is undergoing fundamental, dramatic change,” Domino’s CEO Patrick Doyle said in a release. “This is the first step in an ongoing process of testing that we plan to undertake with Ford.”
This is only an experiment designed to see how potential customers interact with a self-driving car. This current option might not work for people who want to stay in their house and have the pizza come to the door, because hey, Michigan can get pretty cold. But the more Domino’s learns about customer interactions, the better they can tailor delivery options.
“The majority of our questions are about the last 50 feet of the delivery experience,” Domino’s president Russell Weiner told reporters last week.
Domino’s delivers over a billion pizzas per year and has even experimented with drone delivery and pizza robots. No word yet on if you have to leave a tip for the driverless car, but if not, it just means more breadsticks next time around.