ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — 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 to see if customers will warm to the idea of pizza delivered by driverless cars.
Starting today, some pizzas in Domino’s hometown of Ann Arbor will arrive in a Ford Fusion outfitted with radars and a camera 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 experiment will help Domino’s understand how customers will interact with a self-driving car, according to 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 said.
Domino’s also is testing pizza delivery with drones.