NEWS

Self-Driving Fords to Deliver Domino's Pizza

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CARS.COM — It’s 2017 and we don’t have mass-produced flying cars yet. Instead, we have fancy soda machines and, uh, autonomous cars delivering pizza? Welcome to the future.

Related: Ford Expands Driverless Car Fleet

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Ford, home of meticulous cupholder research, has teamed up with Domino’s Pizza to begin testing the next step in the evolution of pizza delivery: a driverless Ford Fusion Hybrid with a heated compartment fabricated by Roush Enterprises arrives at a customer’s address, and with a special code, the customer unlocks the heated compartment and takes their pizza.

Randomly selected Domino’s customers in Ann Arbor, Mich., will have the opportunity to take part in the experiment as researchers test consumer reactions to the autonomous pizza delivery experience. A special version of the Domino’s Tracker with GPS tracking will let the customer keep tabs on the car, and then text messages will provide pizza retrieval instructions. The car will be manually driven by a Ford engineer and also “staffed with researchers” (so customers should probably be sure to put on pants before going to get their pizza).

This isn’t the first time Domino’s has attempted to futurize the process of driving a pizza to an address and handing it to a person in exchange for currency: In 2015, Domino’s teamed with Roush and Chevrolet to create the DXP, a Spark-based vehicle with the sole purpose of delivering pizzas. It still needed a driver, however.

There’s no mention of what will happen in the case of inclement weather or what the protocol is for tipping a Ford engineer (or an empty car), but this experiment is further proof that for every low-wage job, there’s someone planning to replace it with a robot.

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Road Test Editor Brian Normile joined the automotive industry and Cars.com in 2013, and he became part of the Editorial staff in 2014. Brian spent his childhood devouring every car magazine he got his hands on — not literally, eventually — and now reviews and tests vehicles to help consumers make informed choices. Someday, Brian hopes to learn what to do with his hands when he’s reviewing a car on camera. He would daily-drive an Alfa Romeo 4C if he could. Email Brian Normile

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