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Ford teams with Domino's on self-driving pizza delivery test

30 August 2017

The first test city will be Ann Arbor, Michigan, so University of Michigan students will be the guinea pigs. Randomly selected customers in Ann Arbor will receive their order from a self-driving Ford Fusion Hybrid. It wants to see how customers react to not having a delivery person walk up to their door.

Customers will be able to track the auto using Global Positioning System through an augmented version of the Domino's app, and will get text messages instructing them how to retrieve their food.

Ford plans on starting production of self-driving cars by 2021.

Curiously, a key question in the trial isn't how to get the food to the customer's door, but how to get the customer to come and pick up the food.

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The initial focus of our research together is understanding the last 50 feet of the delivery experience. "There are so many practical things that we need to learn".

Ford and Domino's Pizza have said they will explore using self-driving cars for home delivery of pizza.

This isn't the first time Domino's has pondered such questions.

Domino's has already explored some pretty edgy ways of getting its pizzas to hungry customers, including flying robots and others that roll along the ground. Autonomous vehicles will likely have higher utilization rates than human-driven ones, and companies don't have to pay a driver. Solving that challenge could have big implications for companies like Amazon, FedEx, and UPS, which undoubtedly will be curious about any insights the Ford and Domino's experiment yields. Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick estimated that by switching to driverless vehicles his company could drop the price of a ride to the point where it would be cheaper to ride-share than own a private automobile. And the vehicle, a true collaboration with the American auto manufacturer, is outfitted with radars and a camera that is used for autonomous testing.

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"Ford has promised to build a fully driverless auto by 2021, while Domino's hopes to someday make all pizza deliveries with autonomous vehicles".

Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology Expo is attended by industry leaders, businesspeople, technicians, consultants, and research and development professionals, all looking for greater efficiency, safety, and cost reduction.

Ford will benefit from this partnership because data from this research could assist in refining the customer experience for future technology built into its self-driving cars.

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Ford teams with Domino's on self-driving pizza delivery test