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.