Apps Self-Driving Self-driving car to start delivering pizza in Domino’s deal with Ford By BMaaS Contributor Posted on August 29, 2017 7 min read View original post.ANN ARBOR, MI – Domino’s Pizza is unveiling a new partnership with Ford Motor Co. with the goal of self-driving vehicles delivering pizza to customers. Customers who order delivery in the Ann Arbor area in the coming days could see a Ford Fusion Hybrid pull up in their driveway or in their parking lot. The vehicle is an autonomous research vehicle built specifically by the company to deliver data back to Ford. The vehicle will be occupied by a Ford safety engineer during the research period. It also comes with additional researchers, who may ask questions and watch as customers use a unique code sent to their phone that will unlock a compartment in the vehicle where they can retrieve their pizza. The announcement made Tuesday, Aug. 29 details the Ann Arbor-based pizza chain’s move to collaborate with an automotive company to better assess how delivery can be improved today and how it might change in the future. Pizza still the focus at Domino’s HQ, but tech a close second 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. The vehicles were first tested at Mcity, the University of Michigan’s urban testing course for autonomous and connected vehicles. Driverless shuttle coming to University of Michigan’s North Campus Patrick Doyle, Domino’s president and CEO, said in a statement that the company has been watching the autonomous and connected vehicle industry with great interest. “We pride ourselves on being technology leaders and are excited to help lead research into how self-driving vehicles may play a role in the future of pizza delivery,” Doyle said in the statement. “This is the first step in an ongoing process of testing that we plan to undertake with Ford.” Ford has been considering autonomous vehicles for years, even making a move in 2016 to invest in a $75 million autonomous technology firm out on Silicon Valley. 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. There’s only a few years left for that kind of research for both companies, as Ford has said it expects to start producing self-driving vehicles in 2021. “As we increase our understanding of the business opportunity for self-driving vehicles to support the movement of people and goods, we’re pleased to have Domino’s join us in this important part of the development process,” said Sherif Marakby, Ford vice president of autonomous and electric vehicles, in a statement. “As a company focused on the customer experience, Domino’s shares our vision for a future enabled by smart vehicles in a smart environment that enhance people’s lives.” Search for new office space brings Ford Motor to downtown Ann Arbor Russel Weiner, president of Domino’s USA, said he wants to know what customers think about self-driving vehicle delivery. “The majority of our questions are about the last 50 feet of the delivery experience. For instance, how will customers react to coming outside to get their food? We need to make sure the interface is clear and simple,” Weiner said in a statement. Additional issues include how the vehicle is placed for customer access to their order, with the overall goal of making self-driving delivery vehicles a viable possibility and a new option for customers who may appreciate not having to make awkward conversation on their doorstep while paying the pizza guy. Domino’s Pizza was founded in 1960, with the establishment of two restaurants in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. The restaurant chain now has more than 14,000 stores worldwide and had sales of more than $10 billion in 2016.