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Self-driving vehicle to start delivering pizza in Domino's deal with Ford

Domino's

Ford said randomly selected Domino's customers in Ann Arbor, home to the University of MI, will receive orders from a Ford Fusion Hybrid autonomous research vehicle.

A Ford engineer will still be manually driving the vehicle, which will also be staffed with researchers eager to crack the code of how to deliver pizza without a driver - as well as observe how customers will react to the futuristic delivery service. A Ford safety engineer will be on board for manual driving in case of emergencies.

"The next time you order pizza, you might be helping shape the future of pizza delivery", Ford Vice President Sherif Marakby said Tuesday.

You'll be able to order your favourite pizza and have it dropped off in one of Ford's autonomous cars.

Domino's has been experimenting with high-tech delivery methods for years, from UAVs to drones with wheels. But the auto itself will make the actual deliveries.

The company is mainly focused on how the vehicles will impact "the last 50 feet of the delivery experience", including how customers will react to coming outside to get their food.

The automotive company said in the statement that conducting research with companies like Domino's will make sure autonomous and connected vehicles are doing what they are supposed to - bettering the customer experience.

Ford past year announced plans to launch production of its first fully driverless vehicle in 2021, emphasizing that it will target fleet users, rather than retail customers. The customers will approach the vehicle, they will punch a unique code on a tablet that will be located near the car's back. They're beginning to choose shared transportation instead of ownership, and they're shopping and ordering online, which is driving growth in the delivery business.

Secondly, it will contain not only a pizza in an oven to keep it warm, but also some researchers who will record what goes on. Ford has announced that it is teaming up with Domino's to work on self-driving cars to help deliver pizza. Ann Arbor residents will have to agree to be a part of the trial. "In this case, we're still trying to understand, and we're working with partners who understand the consumer and figuring out what we need to do to the vehicle in parallel as we're developing the tech".

"But, ultimately, self-driving vehicles must improve people's lives". Ford acknowledges that the test is limited - and only a select few customers will find their pizzas sitting in a vehicle near the curb.