Imagine you and a group of friends decide to order pizza from Domino’s. The online tracking order says that the pizza has arrived, so you go outside to get it. The car is in front of the house with a delicious, freshly made pizza, but the delivery person is nowhere to be found. That could someday be the reality, as Ford and Domino’s have already begun working together on a Ford Fusion Hybrid vehicle for this new technological development.
Ford Motors and Domino’s pizza are currently working together, testing a new way to deliver a pizza to customers without a delivery person even coming to the door, according to a recent USA Today article.
At this time, while it is still being tested, an engineer and a driver remain in the car, but windows are tinted in a way that prevents customers from seeing them. Customers in Ann Arbor, Michigan, are currently getting the option of having the test car brought to them. The car still has people in it at this time, although the makers are trying to get an idea of how the customers will react.
In an interview with USA Today, Domino’s President Russell Weiner said, “How will customers react to coming outside to get their food? We need to make sure the interface is clear and simple.” This is a major part of the project because there will be a lot of variables involved since there will not be an actual delivery person.
Weiner adds, “Will they want the car in the driveway or by the curb? Will they understand how to use the keypad? Will they come outside if it is raining or snowing? Will they put their pizza boxes on top of the car and threaten to mess up it’s expensive cameras? The major questions are about the last 50 feet of the delivery experience.” Those are many of the questions that Ford and Domino’s need to work together on before the cars can start driving without people in the cars.
Without a human giving the customer the pizza, the customer will go outside to the car and enter a four digit code onto a keypad to retrieve his or her pizza. After a number is typed in, a window will lower, revealing the pizza. The coolest thing about the whole creation is the fact that the car will have a built-in place to keep the pizza hot called the Heatwave Compartment, which will keep the pizzas warm during the delivery process.
Vice President of Ford Autonomous Vehicles and Electrification Sherif Marakby said, “We don’t want to wait until we get everything done on the tech and remove the driver. We’re trying to start doing the research. We still are working on the technology, because it’s not ready to be put on public streets.”
The only real issue that could come of this is if people feel uncomfortable receiving pizza without the actual person. Many people have a strong preference for the one-on-one experience and feel as though not everything has to be technology-based. I think that if this were to come to Keene, I would be really excited about it because it would mean a big step forward in the technological world. While some may worry that a driverless car isn’t safe, I think that if it were to be released nationwide, Ford Motors would make sure that nothing could go wrong with the vehicle. Ford Motors is a large company and they will make sure that the danger risks are as small as possible before putting the car on the road. I don’t think it would be weird to see a driverless car because the interaction is so fast and simple, it would seem normal to me.
Perhaps someday in the future here at Keene State College, you and a group of friends may order pizza and find a car with no driver once you are outside. In the world that we live in today, maybe Domino’s pizza can be the thing that brings us all together.
Colby Dudal can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org