by: Elizabeth Balboa, Benzinga Staff Writer
Sixteen and looking for your first job? Maybe pass on the application for pizza delivery.
If Domino’s Pizza, Inc. DPZ has its way, those jobs are history. The tech-geeked food firm is working with Ford Motor Company F to get ahead of the autonomous vehicle trend and adapt its method of bringing pies to the door.
“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 CEO and president Patrick Doyle said in a press release.
So far, the vision looks something like this: Domino’s pops its products in the code-locked “Heatwave Compartment” of a decked-out Ford Fusion Hybrid, customers track their delivery through a special version of Domino’s Tracker and instructions guiding pizza retrieval are texted en route.
The autonomous process has already been tested at the University of Michigan’s Mcity for autonomous transportation, and the Ford-Domino’s duo is now researching consumer responses to such delivery methods.
“The majority of our questions are about the last 50 feet of the delivery experience,” Russell Weiner, president of Domino’s USA, said in a press release. “For instance, how will customers react to coming outside to get their food? We need to make sure the interface is clear and simple. We need to understand if a customer’s experience is different if the car is parked in the driveway versus next to the curb. All of our testing research is focused on our goal to someday make deliveries with self-driving vehicles as seamless and customer-friendly as possible.”
In the coming weeks, Domino’s will offer random Ann Arbor customers the choice to receive deliveries from a Ford Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Research Vehicle manually controlled by a Ford safety engineer.
This automotive experiment isn’t Domino’s first. The firm’s last interaction with the industry saw the birth of its DXP delivery vehicle, a product designed by Roush Enterprises. There are just 150 of the specialty model on the road today.
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