It’s one for the future, being tested now. From next month, Ford and Domino’s Pizza will begin testing food delivery using the Blue Oval’s self-driving vehicles in Michigan, Reuters reports.
The Ann Arbor-based company and Ford will deliver pizzas to randomly selected customers in Domino’s hometown in a Ford Fusion Hybrid equipped with autonomous technology. The delivery cars initially will be piloted by human drivers. Customers will be able to track the process via GPS and will receive text messages on how to retrieve their pizzas once the delivery car has arrived.
But until we have robots capable of replacing the pizza boy, the delivery service will not be truly door-to-door. Despite much excitement and experiments by Silicon Valley start-ups, humans are still very much needed in the delivery process.
In this Ford-Domino’s test run – the autonomous cars will stop outside the customer’s home, so there won’t be a knock on the door. Not so convenient for apartment dwellers, one can imagine.
“We’re still focused on the last 50 feet. That’s a big challenge – getting (the pizza) from the curb to the door,” admitted Domino’s spokeswoman Jenny Fouracre.
Last week, Sherif Marakby, head of Ford’s autonomous and electric vehicles, signaled the carmaker’s broader ambitions in a blog post, saying Ford planned to cooperate “with multiple partners” in deploying self-driving vehicles “designed to improve the movement of people and goods.”
Previously, Ford execs had said the company expected to launch a self-driving shuttle for commercial ride-sharing fleets in 2021. It will be interesting to see how they plan to phase out humans in delivery and ride-sharing.
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