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 (80)
  • jordanw-orv
    9/18/2017 - 11:55 a.m.

    At first i thought its a real driver less car but really their is a person but you don't interact with the human being you just put in a code and you take it out i personally think its a good idea. but at the same time its like what are you joking.Also i don't think people will get the pizza if its raining or snowing.

  • kinniel-orv
    9/18/2017 - 02:55 p.m.

    This article is very cool. We are very close to more advanced technology. This article right here is possibly the start of it. Are other pizza places going to start doing this. Will other jobs be delivering stuff in cars with no driver. We will see in the future.

  • Jenaeb-orv
    9/19/2017 - 03:07 p.m.

    This sounds like a good and bad idea. A reason why I think its a good idea is because, many delivery people go to the wrong house most of the time and sometimes when they do. The people who didn't order it they might just say it was there's when its really wasn't. Another thing is that sometimes delivery people sometimes even forget to even deliver the orders. why I think its a bad idea is because when the person puts i8n the 4 digit code they might break the expensive things in the cars.

  • 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

  • EllaK-erl
    9/19/2017 - 03:22 p.m.

    i like it

  • jazmined-lew
    9/29/2017 - 09:35 a.m.

    It's important because the car could go to the wrong house and whoever ordered the pizza would never get it.

  • calebt-lew
    9/29/2017 - 12:04 p.m.

    I think self-driving cars is an amazing idea.I was wondering how safe is this?If the car crashes it buts other people in danger.This is probably expensive as well.Plus not everyone is going to agree with this.

  • rayb-lew
    9/29/2017 - 12:16 p.m.

    I think that it is a good idea to use a (Self- Driving-Vehicle) to deliver pizza, because the car can drive over to your house and you will be able to get your pizza faster than normal. It is also a good idea because there will be more workers inside not delivering pizza to people and they will be able to make the pizza faster because they got more people inside working and making pizza

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