Domino's and Ford start research into self-driving vehicles for pizza delivery


Domino's and Ford have started a joint research project to use self-driving vehicles to deliver pizza. 

Researchers from both companies will carry out the testing process, which will involve customer feedback of interacting with an autonomous vehicle as a part of their delivery experience. 

Domino’s president and CEO Patrick Doyle said: “As delivery experts, we’ve been watching the development of self-driving vehicles with great interest as we believe transportation is undergoing fundamental, dramatic change.

“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. This is the first step in an ongoing process of testing that we plan to undertake with Ford.”

Ford is planning to begin production of self-driving vehicles in 2021 and is currently taking steps to design a business to meet the needs of partner companies as well as their customers.

Customers of Domino’s in Ann Arbor will be randomly selected and given an option to receive their delivery order from a Ford Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Research Vehicle, over the next several weeks. 

"Customers will receive text messages that will guide them on how to retrieve their pizza using a unique code to unlock the compartment inside the vehicle."

A Ford safety engineer will manually drive the vehicle, which will be staffed with researchers.

Customers who agree to participate can track the delivery vehicle through GPS using an upgraded version of Domino’s Tracker. 

As the self-driving vehicle approaches, they will also receive text messages that will guide them on how to retrieve their pizza using a unique code to unlock the Domino’s Heatwave Compartment inside the vehicle.

The prototype vehicle’s pizza container, Domino’s Heatwave Compartment, was fabricated by Roush Enterprises.


Image: Ford and Domino's autonomous delivery research. Photo: courtesy of The Ford Motor Company.