Domino's and Ford Are Testing Self-Driving Pizza Delivery Cars

Artificial Intelligence
Tuesday, 29 August 2017 - 10:38AM

It's a sad day for teenage pizza delivery guys everywhere, but great news for those who hate waiting for pizza: Ford has teamed up with Domino's to test robotic self-driving pizza deliveries. If all goes well, these tests could hopefully mean that the future of pizza is more efficient, cheaper, and possibly even faster than it is now.

What's really interesting is that the tests Domino's and Ford are running don't expressly relate to the technology of self-driving cars. By this point, self-driving cars are already able to navigate the roads just fine, and, if anything, will be better at it than an eighteen-year-old who's half-glancing at his phone. The big question that these tests are trying to answer is whether or not customers will be comfortable receiving pizzas from an automated service. The delivery guy is such an ingrained part of the pizza experience that Domino's is worried customers won't be happy to lose the human interaction.

If your pizza has been delivered by a robot, who do you yell at if it's late? Who's going to draw a dinosaur on your box or tell you a joke as you open the door? Do you just stuff the tip in the car's exhaust pipe, or what?

For their part, Ford is really interested in helping people to better understand and accept self-driving car technology. There's still a lot of apprehension from the general public about driverless cars, which is made worse every time something goes even the slightest bit wrong. Ford is hoping that getting people to associate an empty car with a delicious pizza will help to soften the reputation of this sci-fi technology.

According to Sherif Marakby, vice-president of Ford Autonomous and Electric Vehicles:

"Ford is developing the autonomous vehicle technology, and Domino's is actually really focused on the technology aspect of how to improve the delivery business. I think there's general understanding that autonomous vehicles can enable a lot of things for delivery that will make the whole delivery process easier, simpler and maybe even more user-friendly."

What really matters to customers, though, is not how friendly or affectionate these cars act; it's how fast we can get our pizza. If Domino's can speed up the delivery time of their pizzas to the point that they can reinstate the classic "30 minutes or less" delivery guarantee, then we'll all praise self-driving car technology until the end of time.