Automotive giant Ford and pizza giant Domino's have teamed up to test how people will respond to having their delicious pizza pie delivered by a robot.
Customers ordering a pizza in the Ann Arbour area of Michigan in the US will be given the autonomous vehicle (AV) option upon checking out. And if they select it, their pizza will be loaded into a special car, kitted out with a device that keeps their cheesy bready delicacy wam until it arrives at their door.
Once they’ve placed the order, the car sets off on its merry way (currently with a driver behind the wheel just in case the car decides to take the fromage fancy off road) and heads to their door.
Brave new world
Using the Domino’s app, the customer can track the dough delight right up until the moment it arrives outside their door.
All the customer has to do at that point is head outside in their pyjamas, enduring the judgement of their neighbours to pop a unique code into a keypad on the side of the vehicle to release the crispy crusted circle of cheese.
What’s interesting is why this experiment is taking place. It makes sense for Domino’s; after all, getting pizza to a customer oven-hot and without having to pay a delivery driver seems like a no-brainer. But for Ford it’s a more interesting proposition.
Speaking to TechCrunch, Ford Autonomous and Electric Vehicles VP Sherif Marakby said: “The unique thing is that we’re doing this ethnographic research in parallel to developing the AV tech itself”.
And what ethnographic research means when you break it down is ‘Do people like self-driving cars? ‘ While the jury is still out on whether people are becoming more comfortable with the idea of autonomous vehicles being on the road, training us like Pavlov’s dogs by filling them with delicious pizza may be a good way to go.
- Want to know more about the future of transport tech? Check out our own Jon Porter's regular column The Transporter.
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Andrew London is a writer at Velocity Partners. Prior to Velocity Partners, he was a staff writer at Future plc.