Ford, Domino's team up to deliver pizzas with self-driving cars

By Andrew V. Pestano Follow @AVPLive9 Contact the Author   |  Aug. 29, 2017 at 1:17 PM
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Aug. 29 (UPI) -- Starting Wednesday, Domino's Pizza will begin testing deliveries with self-driving vehicles.

Domino's has teamed up with Ford for the project, which will be tested in Ann Arbor, Mich.

"The next time you order pizza, you might be helping shape the future of pizza delivery," Ford Vice President Sherif Marakby said Tuesday. "We're kicking off a research collaboration with Domino's Pizza to understand the role self-driving vehicles can play in food delivery."

Ford said randomly selected Domino's customers in Ann Arbor, home to the University of Michigan, will receive orders from a Ford Fusion Hybrid autonomous research vehicle.

Officials said the most important part of the research will be understanding the last moments of the delivery.

Marakby said the companies want to understand how customers react to the new experience and how they respond to the added requirement of having to walk out to the vehicle, instead of just answering their front door for a delivery person.

"Understanding how automation will change the customer experience is a key part of how we're building our future self-driving vehicle business because we want to apply the technology in ways that enhance people's lives," Marakby added. "To achieve this, we will partner with companies that specialize in the movement of people and goods."

The companies decided to invest in the research because consumers are choosing to chose shared transportation instead of ownership and they're shopping and ordering online more, which is driving growth in the delivery business.

Ford estimates  food delivery revenue is expected to grow from $13 billion to $39 billion in the next five years, which could be aided by self-driving vehicles.

"As delivery experts, we've been watching the development of self-driving vehicles with great interest as we believe transportation is undergoing fundamental, dramatic change," Domino's President and CEO Patrick Doyle said in a statement. "We pride ourselves on being technology leaders and are excited to help lead research into how self-driving vehicles may play a role in the future of pizza delivery. This is the first step in an ongoing process of testing that we plan to undertake with Ford."

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