Self-driving pizza delivery vehicles could be here soon

Dominoes testing technology in Michigan

By Nikki Kimbleton - The Morning Show anchor

LAS VEGAS - Every year, we get closer and closer to having fully autonomous vehicles on the roads, and auto makers like Ford are among those constantly testing the technology. These vehicles of the future will be used for everything, even pizza delivery.

No matter how you slice it, Dominoes and Ford are partnering together on something pretty cool. It's pizza delivery without a driver. They've already started testing it out. 

Jenny Fouraker, with Dominoes corporate, told us more about how they tested it out in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Fouraker said, "Really, what we were looking at is how people interact with the car in the last 50 feet. Would people know where to go? How to get the pizza? Plus, would they understand the instructions?"

The way it works with the autonomous vehicle is that store employees cook and then load up the cheesy goodness in the back seat of the car. The vehicle can then track you via your phone and find your exact location. 

Once the car arrives, you use a key pad on the back passenger side of the vehicle to access the order. You enter the last four digits of your cellphone number, and then the back window opens, revealing your order. Once you have everything you ordered, you wait for the window to close and the car drives away. 

"We also have verbal cues for the car," Fouraker explained. "So, if someone was touching the car, an automated voice would tell them to back away. Also, if someone was standing in front of the vehicle, it could sense that and warn them to move." 

Developers at Ford Motor Company are still working out the kinks, but it's been successful so far. But don't expect it to roll out here in Northeast Florida anytime soon, it's going to cost a lot of dough to modify all of those delivery vehicles. 

"I think this is very far in the future, but I also always think we are going to have humans delivering pizza in situations where people can't get out of wherever they are to pick up their order," Fouraker said.

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