Self-driving vehicles for pizza delivery? Coming soon to a Domino’s near you
So as to not get left behind in terms of “look how close we are to the future” signaling, Ford and Domino’s have announced a new partnership that will see pizzas delivered in Michigan by self-driving vehicles.
By James Ayre
These supposedly self-driving vehicles will of course still play host to a “safety driver” who will be expected to take over when there are problems — so, clearly they aren’t true self-driving vehicles as of yet.
This pizza ain’t gonna deliver itself
The thing that’s somewhat baffling about this is that, even presuming the tech for self-driving vehicles is ready for prime time, who’s gonna deliver the pizza if there’s no driver?
The answer, apparently, is: no one. Buyers will have to retrieve the pizzas themselves.
Reuters explains: “Domino’s and Ford will deliver pizzas to randomly selected customers in the Ann Arbor area in a Ford Fusion Hybrid equipped with self-driving technology. … Customers will be able to track the delivery process via GPS and will receive text messages on how to retrieve their pizzas once the delivery vehicle has arrived. …
“Opinion is still divided, however, on whether automation can help solve some vexing delivery problems, such as how to deliver pizzas economically to the fifth floor of a college dorm. The Ford-Domino’s test vehicle will not attempt to resolve that conundrum. It will stop outside the customer’s house, so it will not provide true door-to-door delivery service.”
“We’re still focused on the last 50 feet,” continued Domino’s spokeswoman Jenny Fouracre. “That’s a big challenge — getting (the pizza) from the curb to the door.”
Yeah, no kidding. So, why pursue the strategy at all? Or is the eventual goal to use some ridiculous combination of a self-driving car + drones? Or is it all just about good PR?