Coming this September for the people of Michigan will be a new way to have a Domino’s pizza delivered: by robot.
According to reports, Domino’s and Ford will be testing self-driving pizza delivery vehicles this fall in Michigan to get an idea of how consumers really feel about automated delivery. It’s not quite the first run of this for the brand — Domino’s Pizza Enterprises, the Ann Arbor-based company’s largest independent franchisee, has already tested delivery to customers in New Zealand via drone and self-driving robot.
Sherif Marakby, head of Ford’s autonomous and electric vehicles, wrote last week in a blog post that the auto company plans to cooperate “with multiple partners” in deploying self-driving vehicles “designed to improve the movement of people and goods.”
One can not chose an automated pizza delivery, it must choose you — the driverless pizzas will go to randomly selected customers in the Ann Arbor Area. The delivery vehicle of choice will be a self-driving Ford Fusion. A “driver” will be along for the ride.
Questions still remain — like if automated delivery can solve problems like getting a pizza to a fifth-floor walk-up or dorm room. And at this phase of the game, the Ford-Domino’s test vehicle will not attempt to solve that particular problem. It will stop outside the customer’s house, so it will not provide true door-to-door delivery service.
“We’re still focused on the last 50 feet,” said Domino’s spokeswoman Jenny Fouracre. “That’s a big challenge — getting (the pizza) from the curb to the door.”