In an industry-first initiative, Ford has teamed up with one of the leading pizza delivery companies, Domino’s Pizza for testing out pizza delivery using self-driving vehicles.
Food delivery is set to undergo a transformation when the deliveryman will no longer come to your door but you will have to interact with a self-driving vehicle as part of the delivery process. Researchers from both Ford and Domino’s Pizza will closely study the reactions of customers as part of the test so that they can examine and understand customers’ perspectives.
Commenting on the initiative, Patrick Doyle, Domino’s president and CEO said that the company has been closely watching the development of self-driving vehicles as he believes that transportation is set to undergo dramatic change. Domino’s Pizza prides itself on being technology leaders and was game to help lead research into how self-driving vehicles might play a role when it comes to pizza delivery in the future.
For Ford, the company is trying to expand its presence in the market by venturing into the development of self-driving vehicles and conducting research with companies like Domino’s, will help the auto maker to ensure that the technology is applied in ways that can help improve the customer experience. Ford has plans to begin production of self-driving vehicles by 2021, and hence it needs to design a business that can meet the needs of both partner companies and their customers.
Sherif Marakby, Ford vice president, Autonomous and Electric Vehicles said, “As we increase our understanding of the business opportunity for self-driving vehicles to support the movement of people and goods, we’re pleased to have Domino’s join us in this important part of the development process.”
He said that as a company that is focused on the customer experience, Domino’s shared Ford’s vision for a future that is enabled by smart vehicles in a smart environment that enhance people’s lives.
During the next few weeks, Domino’s customers in Ann Arbor will be selected on a random basis for a chance to have their pizzas delivered by a Ford Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Research Vehicle. The delivery vehicle will be manually-driven by a Ford safety engineer and staffed with researchers. Only customers who agree to be a part of the project will be asked to participate and they will be able to track the delivery vehicle through GPS using an upgraded version of Domino’s Tracker. As the vehicle approaches their house, they will receive text messages that will guide them on what they have to do to retrieve their pizza using a unique code to unlock the Domino’s Heatwave Compartment inside the vehicle.
Russell Weiner, president of Domino’s USA said he was highly interested in the feedback from customers about this type of delivery, with most of the interest being focused on the last 50 feet of the delivery experience. The interface needs to be clear and simple and customers will need to come outside to get their food. The researchers also need to understand the difference in the customer experience with regard to several different options like if the car is parked in the driveway of if it is next to the curb.
The ultimate goal of the project is to make it deliveries possible in the future with the use of self-driving vehicles and to make the delivery as customer-friendly.
Manju Mathew, an MBA in marketing, completed publisher training courses from the Oxford Brookes University and New York University. She started with marketing and PR roles before moving on to her current position as a full time writer. Currently living in Dubai, her life as an expat has sharpened her observation skills and flair for writing. She enjoys writing about luxury cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc even if she can only dream of owning them.
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