Pizza delivery without drivers This Friday, Aug. 24, photo, shows the specially designed delivery car that Ford Motor Co. and Domino’s Pizza will use to test self-driving pizza deliveries, at Domino’s headquarters in Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP Photo/Dee-Ann Durbin)
Pizza delivery without drivers
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No ring of the doorbell, just a text. No tip for the driver? No problem in this test, where Domino's and Ford are teaming up to see if customers will warm to the idea of pizza delivered by driverless cars.

Starting Wednesday, some pizzas in Domino's hometown of Ann Arbor will arrive in a Ford Fusion outfitted with radars and a camera that is used for autonomous testing. A Ford engineer will be at the wheel, but the front windows have been blacked out so customers won't interact with the driver.

Instead, people will have to come out of their homes and type a four-digit code into a keypad mounted on the car. That will open the rear window and let customers retrieve their order from a heated compartment. The compartment can carry up to four pizzas and five sides, Domino's Pizza Inc. says.

The experiment will help Domino's understand how customers will interact with a self-driving car, says company President Russell Weiner. Will they want the car in their driveway or by the curb? Will they understand how to use the keypad? Will they come outside if it's raining or snowing? Will they put their pizza boxes on top of the car and threaten to mess up its expensive cameras?

"The majority of our questions are about the last 50 feet of the delivery experience," Weiner told reporters last week.

Domino's, which delivers 1 billion pizzas worldwide each year, needs to stay ahead of emerging trends, Weiner says. The test will last six weeks, and the companies say they'll decide afterward what to do next. Domino's is also testing pizza delivery with drones.

Weiner said the company has 100,000 drivers in the U.S. In a driverless world, he said, he could see those employees taking on different roles within the company.

Ford Motor Co., which wants to develop a fully driverless vehicle by 2021, said it needs to understand the kinds of things companies would use that vehicle for. The experiment is a first for Ford. But other companies have seen the potential for food deliveries. 

"We're developing a self-driving car not just for the sake of technology," said Sherif Marakby, Ford's vice president of autonomous and electric vehicles. "There are so many practical things that we need to learn."

Only one car will be deployed in Ann Arbor, and it has a special black-and-white paint job to identify it as a research vehicle.

Customers in the test area will be chosen randomly when they order a pizza, and will get a phone call to confirm they want to participate. If they agree, they'll get a text message letting them know when the vehicle is pulling up and how to retrieve their food.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why is the 4-digit code important?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (10)
  • emilyj25655
    9/06/2017 - 09:52 a.m.

    The 4 digit code is inportan because that way they know that the right people got there food

  • sydneyb25586
    9/06/2017 - 10:11 a.m.

    I think the foer digit code is important because the car could go to the wrong house and if they did not have the code the random person could take your pizza but since they have the code only you can take your pizza.

  • braedend25689
    9/06/2017 - 01:26 p.m.

    How did they get the gps and key code on the ford fusions so that the car know where to go.

  • IRALI01
    9/08/2017 - 08:32 a.m.

    A self driving pizza delivering car is really cool.I wonder how they made that technology?Are self driving cars usually dangerous than actually people driving a car?Why cant they just have a person driving instead.But a self driving car is really impressive.

  • APHIL06
    9/08/2017 - 08:41 a.m.

    This is a great article. I think that they should do this. The 4 digit code is good because what if somebody try to get the pizza while the person who ordered it was coming to get the pizza from the back yard

  • JMTRIP01
    9/08/2017 - 08:42 a.m.

    i like this article . i think you should read because you can read about cars and how there starting to delivery pizza with no one in the car.

  • EMNEWM01
    9/08/2017 - 08:51 a.m.

    Very cool and why don't they make these in kentucky, also they are coming up with all types of new technology these days but self delivering cars very creative.

  • MacKenzieH-erl
    9/19/2017 - 03:11 p.m.

    ill be scared if the car randomly starts to drive away and run me over........

    • KaneB-erl
      9/19/2017 - 03:21 p.m.

      lol

  • KaneB-erl
    9/19/2017 - 03:20 p.m.

    this would be weird cause i would forget the four digit code

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