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Autonomous Vehicles

Published on August 31st, 2017 | by James Ayre


Ford & Domino’s Partnering For “Self-Driving” Pizza Delivery

August 31st, 2017 by  

So as to not get left behind in terms of “look how close we are to the future” signaling, Ford and Domino’s have announced a new partnership that will see pizzas delivered in Michigan by self-driving vehicles.

These “self-driving” vehicles will of course still play host to a “safety driver” who will be expected to take over when there are problems — so, clearly they aren’t truly self-driving (robocars) as of yet.

The thing that’s somewhat baffling about this is that, even presuming the self-driving vehicle tech is ready, who’s gonna deliver the pizza if there’s no driver?

The answer, apparently, is: no one. Buyers will have to retrieve the pizzas themselves.

Reuters explains: “Domino’s and Ford will deliver pizzas to randomly selected customers in the Ann Arbor area in a Ford Fusion Hybrid equipped with self-driving technology. … Customers will be able to track the delivery process via GPS and will receive text messages on how to retrieve their pizzas once the delivery vehicle has arrived. …

“Opinion is still divided, however, on whether automation can help solve some vexing delivery problems, such as how to deliver pizzas economically to the fifth floor of a college dorm. The Ford-Domino’s test vehicle will not attempt to resolve that conundrum. It will stop outside the customer’s house, so it will not provide true door-to-door delivery service.”

“We’re still focused on the last 50 feet,” continued Domino’s spokeswoman Jenny Fouracre. “That’s a big challenge — getting (the pizza) from the curb to the door.”

Yeah, no kidding. So, why pursue the strategy at all? Or is the eventual goal to use some ridiculous combination of a self-driving car + drones? Or is it all just about good PR?

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About the Author

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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