Tired of awkwardly handing over cash to the pizza delivery person whenever you're in the mood to tackle a late-night craving with a slice of your favorite pie? If Ford and Domino's have their way, dealing with human employees during the delivery process could be completely out of the equation in the not-so-distant future.
As Michael Martinez of Automotive News reports, Domino's and Ford have entered into a business agreement that allows for collaboration on the research and development of autonomous vehicles – and this technology's application in the deliverable food industry. Additionally, the unlikely tandem is also stepping beyond the technical aspect of this process and leveraging its combined efforts to gauge the feedback – both positive and negative – from consumers as they become acclimated to an influx of autonomous services into their everyday lives.
In terms of how this plan will shake out, Ford and Domino's will unleash a handful of Ford Fusion hybrids in Ann Arbor, Michigan, outfitted with a special delivery storage compartment located in the rear side window of these select vehicles. For those special few who have the opportunity to partake in this pilot program, instructions on how to retrieve their pizza and other assorted products will arrive via text message, in addition to GPS tracking and other related services.
While this story is undoubtedly an intriguing spin on the ever prevalent "rise of driverless vehicle technology" motif, Martinez does go on to note that there is one big caveat that's worth mentioning: For safety reasons, each Fusion hybrid will be manned by a Ford safety engineer in accordance with the partnership's stated goal of utilizing this test as more of a barometer of consumers' willingness to accept the advent of this technology and less of an actual real-world application of autonomous operations.
Want to learn a little more about the particulars of Ford and Domino's self-driving team-up, as well as how this project fits into Ford's goals of bringing completely autonomous vehicles to market by 2021? Then give the link below a click and check out the full scoop from Martinez and the rest of the Automotive News editorial team.