Michigan Deploying Driverless Pizza Delivery

Its about 10:30 pm when I look up from my computer for the first time in about six hours.  The sun is gone, the dining hall is closed, and my stomach suddenly makes the most horrifying noise to remind me the dinner I forgot about is long overdue.

I suddenly have an overwhelming craving for a medium, two topping Domino’s pizza.  I go online, log into my account and order the pizza.

Some fifteen minutes later, my phone bings to alert me my pizza is outside the library.  I make my way downstairs, walk over to the Ford Fusion covered in the Domino’s logo, type in the last four digits of my phone number and the window rolls down, revealing my dinner.  I remove it from the car, finish my transaction, and the car drives away.  No tip.  No driver. No problem.

If you are in Ann Arbor, Michigan, this could be your experience in the coming weeks. Ford and Domino’s have teamed up to pilot this delivery program in the city, randomly selecting certain orders to receive this service.  Now, during the testing period, this process will not be completely devoid of human intervention.  An engineer will be riding in the car, blocked from view to maintain the integrity of the autonomous experience.

Both Ford and Domino’s have robust track records when it comes to implementing new technology.  Dating back to the early 1900’s with the first moving assembly line dedicated to the creation of the first mass market vehicle (the Model T), Ford has been known for innovation in the automotive industry. In more recent news, Ford has promised a self-driving car ready for market by 2021.  Dominos, for its part, has experimented with drone delivery, AI delivery assistants and of course online ordering.

Researchers behind the project are focusing on the customer responses to having to walk out and interact with the car.  Since the pizza will not come directly to your door, there is a slight increase in movement required of the customer.  While the difference between walking through your house and walking out to your driveway may be insignificant to some, there are concerns for those who suffer from physical restraints.  Individuals who have limited mobility will likely be accounted for should this program expand and become a more permanent solution.

As for those of us who simply don’t want to move those extra 20 feet…who knows. Maybe FitBit will partner with Domino’s next and give you a discount for taking those extra steps.

Understanding how the consumer of your end-product enjoys the “delivery” experience is crucial to informing future enhancements.  At ClearObject, our team will evaluate your systems and processes start to finish, leveraging the data produced along the way to inform a more efficient system.  Contact our team today and learn how we can help your organization embrace IoT.

Clare Maher

Clare Maher is the Product Marketing Manager at ClearObject. A graduate of Saint Mary’s College (#gobelles), Clare can usually be found yelling at the screen during a Notre Dame game, quoting any film ever made or touring the Indy restaurant scene.

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