Pizza chain teams up with Ford to test self-driving deliveries

Customers may soon be able to avoid tipping for pizza deliveries.

Domino's Pizza is conducting a second round of self-driving delivery vehicle testing, with a focus on the customer experience. The two-month test in Miami, in partnership with Ford Motor Co., will leverage the learnings of the first round of testing, but will add the element of delivery in a larger, urban setting.

"Our first round of testing the customer experience in Ann Arbor provided some great learnings and insights, including the fact that there are customers who are interested in this as a delivery option," said Kevin Vasconi, executive vice VP and CIO of Domino's. "Our testing is focused on the last 50 ft. of the customer experience, between the front door and the car. While we work to refine that interaction, we also need to understand how operating this type of delivery in a more densely populated city will impact the customer experience and the specific delivery challenges it might present."

For the test, a Ford Fusion Hybrid vehicle – manually driven but outfitted to look like a self-driving vehicle – will take deliveries from a Miami Domino's store to customers who have ordered online and chosen to participate in the test. Participating customers will be able to track the vehicle via GPS and will receive text messages as the self-driving vehicle approaches.

The texts will also provide them with simple instructions on how to unlock the Domino's “heatwave compartment” inside the vehicle using a PIN code.

"As the automotive world evolves towards self-driving vehicles, we hope to put ourselves in a leading position by bringing our customers the delivery option that best meets their needs, now and in the future," said Vasconi.

Domino's Pizza is the largest pizza company in the world based on sales. It operates more than 14,800 stores in over 85 markets, and had global retail sales of over $12.2 billion in 2017, with more than $5.9 billion in the U.S. and more than $6.3 billion internationally.
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