Users who agree to participate in this venture will be able to use a Global Positioning System to track the vehicle, and will also receive text messages providing them with directions about how to retrieve their meal.
Ford told The Verge that there will be company engineers driving the cars, along with other researchers in the auto, meaning there's likely to be at least 100% more people involved driving one of these pizzas to your door than during the average pizza delivery.
The experiment falls in line with Ford's goal of putting fully autonomous cars on the road by 2021. Speaking at a Ford event in San Francisco earlier this month, Kevin Vasconi, Domino's Pizza chief information officer and executive vice president, who oversees delivery operations, said that aspect of delivery will grow more complicated with autonomous operations, especially in urban environments.
The biggest question about driverless deliveries is the interaction between the customer and the driverless delivery vehicle.
Instead, once the customer receives a text alert they will be asked to go outside and punch a code into a keypad mounted on the auto.
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The automotive company said in the statement that conducting research with companies like Domino's will make sure autonomous and connected vehicles are doing what they are supposed to - bettering the customer experience.
Customers will be able to track the delivery vehicle through Global Positioning System. "It's about creating that last 50-feet scenario and observing how customers will interact with the vehicle". The vast majority of its sales - about 1 billion pizza pies annually - must be delivered to customers' homes or offices.
Ford has been investing heavily in autonomous technology - and it has also seen how the self-driving technology may be particularly important for the delivery sector.
Roush Enterprises will use its Heatwave Compartment to keep the pizzas warm.
That could be a huge market that Ford, with its decades of commercial-fleet expertise, could be in a position to dominate - if it can come up with automated delivery vehicles that work well with human customers.
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.
The research would include gauging customer reactions to self-driving delivery vehicles, and understanding how those reactions could change as delivery companies switch over their services to automation.
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