Soon, you may not have to tip your pizza delivery driver anymore but not because the fast food industry is going tipless — rather, because it’s going driverless. That is right, your pies could soon be coming your way in autonomous delivery vehicles. That is, if you are ordering from Domino’s. According to The Verge, the pizza franchise partnered with Ford to test self-driving pizza delivery cars, hoping to gauge how well (or poorly) pizza enthusiasts respond to and engage with this newfangled technology.
Over the course of the next few weeks, some Domino’s customers in Ann Arbor, Michigan, will have the option of getting their pizzas delivered in a Ford Fusion Hybrid autonomous research vehicle. Alas, the car won’t be entirely without a driver (so you should probably still tip). All cars will be operated by a Ford safety engineer, and will actually have quite a few other passengers in the form of additional researchers who will be tasked with examining the last 50 feet of the drive and the customer experience.
So what happens in the last 50 feet? Apparently, if you opt for the driverless option, you will be provided with a unique code (the last four digits of your phone number) to unlock the Heatwave Compartment (which keeps your pizza warm) located in the back of these autonomous cars. Additional instructions will be relayed to customers by way of screens and speakers on the outside of the cars. Those who participate in the test can also track their order through a Domino’s app.
“We’re interested to learn what people think about this type of delivery,” Russell Weiner, president of Domino’s USA, said in a statement. In particular, researchers will be focusing on how customers feel about actually having to come outside to pick up their pizza, how trusting they seem of the car, and how they operate the screens to retrieve their order.
“How will customers react to coming outside to get their food?” Weiner added. “We need to make sure the interface is clear and simple.”
Get excited, pizza fans. This could herald a new era in the reception of your favorite food group.
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