In late August Ford and Domino’s Pizza announced that they have teamed up to work on a project that could potentially change the pizza delivery game forever. The two companies have created a driverless car that will drive your pizza to your house. Then you will input a 4 digit code into the screen on the side of the car to unlock the “Heatwave Compartment” that keeps your pizza warm.
Over the next several weeks, customers in the Ann Arbor, Michigan area will have the option to opt into this beta testing. However, the cars will not technically be driverless. Since the driverless car technology is still fairly new Ford and Domino’s have staffed the car with a Ford Safety Engineer. So the “driverless” aspect of the car isn’t really coming into play here. Ford and Domino’s are actually interested in the “last 50 ft” of delivery. In other words, they want to see if people would actually be willing to come out of their house and get their pizza. Not only that but the two companies also want to see how customers interact with the screen and code method, to get their pizza.
Several carmakers have invested heavily in car technology and many anticipate driverless cars to hit the market as soon as 2021. Domino’s also sharing this goal of launching their new delivery service in 2021, that is if it is received well.
So What’s The Problem?
As I mentioned before, people are going to have to come outside to get their pizza, which on the surface doesn’t seem like a big deal. However, since pizza delivery first became big they have boasted their “pizza at your doorstep” motto and with this technology, we will no longer have that luxury. Now people will have to grace their neighbors with their lovely pajamas or be forced to put on real clothes… which for me would almost be a deal breaker. Don’t worry I know exactly how lazy that sounds. It feels as though Ford and Domino’s are trying to determine which is the lesser of two evils for Millennials: going outside or human interaction.
Another factor to consider is the weather. In Florida, you can pretty much expect it to rain every afternoon in the summer. So if a family orders pizza for dinner, would they be willing to go out in the rain to get it? In my opinion, if I have to get dressed AND go out in the rain to get my pizza, it better be some pretty spectacular pizza.
Is This The Future of Pizza Delivery?
I really doubt this is the future. This technology is not reducing friction it is trading one type for another. If the car had a robot that could take the pizza to your door, then maybe I could see this being a huge step in innovation. However, I think their best bet is to either go with drones or still employ pizza delivery personnel combined with driverless cars. Driverless cars have their own list of benefits that greatly outweigh the downfalls. So if Domino’s invests in driverless cars for their drivers, it is no doubt going to cost more than one or the other but it would eliminate driver error.
How About Drones?
Drones are something that companies like Amazon have really taken an interest in, and for good reason. These drones can deliver packages directly to your door step. However, they have their own set of problems like weather. Even though the customer doesn’t have to go out in the rain, can a drone fly during a thunderstorm?Also, how much weight can a drone really hold?
I don’t think there is one answer. The future has never been crystal clear and I don’t think that drones or driverless cars are the answer, but instead a combination of the two. Maybe the car can drive the pizzas and a drone can bring it to the door… Domino’s should hire me.