And now, Domino's has partnered with Ford in the USA to use its self-driving research cars to start delivering pizzas in the Ann Arbor, Michigan area.
The Ann Arbor-based company and Ford will deliver pizzas to randomly selected customers in Domino's hometown in a Ford Fusion Hybrid equipped with autonomous technology. It will focus on how people interact with autonomous pizza deliveries - from approaching the vehicle, to using a window-mounted tablet to unlock the heated storage compartment and retrieving their order.
"We're interested to learn what people think about this type of delivery", said Russell Weiner, president of Domino's United States of America, according to Automotive News.
Firms like Domino's, as well as delivery services like UPS, do face the last-50-foot challenge, however, especially in inclement weather or when dealing with large, cumbersome packages.
There are some questions Domino's is interested in answering, such as how customers will feel about having to walk outside to get their pizza themselves...will most people be okay with it, or will it result in a decrease in pizza deliveries? Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick estimated that by switching to driverless vehicles his company could drop the price of a ride to the point where it would be cheaper to ride-share than own a private automobile.
Russell Weiner, the president of Domino's US, which is based just outside Ann Arbor, said the firm wanted to ensure the delivery of its pizzas this way would be "clear and simple" for customers.
If your pizza has been delivered by a robot, who do you yell at if it's late?
As for Ford this will also provide new ways to use self-driving cars.
During the testing phase, an engineer and a driver will be in the vehicle - but the windows will be heavily tinted so customers can't see them. "We need to make sure the interface is clear and simple", Weiner said in a statement. We're trying to start doing the research.
Russel Weiner, president of Domino's United States of America, said he wants to know what customers think about self-driving vehicle delivery. We must put the customer experience at the forefront of our thinking so self-driving vehicles improve the lives of people, the operations of our partner companies, and the mobility within our communities. Ann Arbor residents will have to agree to be a part of the trial.