Domino’s Pizza has announced that it is conducting a second round of self-driving delivery vehicle testing in Miami, in a partnership with Ford.
The two-month test will focus on the customer experience and build on a first round of testing in Michigan late last year, this time adding the element of delivery in a larger, urban setting.
“Our first round of testing the customer experience in Ann Arbor provided some great learnings and insights, including the fact that there are customers who are interested in this as a delivery option,” said Kevin Vasconi, executive vice president and chief information officer of Domino’s.
“Our testing is focused on the last 50 feet of the customer experience, between the front door and the car. While we work to refine that interaction, we also need to understand how operating this type of delivery in a more densely populated city will impact the customer experience and the specific delivery challenges it might present.”
While the delivery vehicle involved – a Ford Fusion Hybrid – will not be driven autonomously, it will be fitted out to look like a self-driving vehicle, said Domino’s.
Customers who have ordered online from one of the company’s Miami stores and chosen to participate in the test will be able to track the vehicle via GPS and receive text messages as the ‘self-driving’ vehicle approaches. The texts will contain instructions for customers to access their pizza from inside the vehicle using a PIN code.
“As the automotive world evolves towards self-driving vehicles, we hope to put ourselves in a leading position by bringing our customers the delivery option that best meets their needs, now and in the future,” said Vasconi.
The test will not be the first time Ford has fitted out a manually-driven car to look like a self-driving vehicle. Last year, the carmaker disguised a human driver as a car seat as part of research with Virginia Tech Transportation Institute to study road users’ reactions to a ‘self-driving’ vehicle.