Ford and Domino’s® began testing self-driving Ford Fusion Hybrids dressed as pizza delivery vehicles in Ann Arbor, Michigan, last summer. Now, the partnership is moving to a larger city in order to gather more data. The second round of testing will take place in Miami, Florida, and will track how customers interact with the self-driving Ford sedan.
The second round of testing in Miami will focus on the customer experience. Those who choose to participate in the test run can track their order via GPS. They’ll also receive text messages as the delivery sedan approaches its destination. The text will include a four-digit code that the consumer must enter in order to retrieve his pizza.
“Our testing is focused on the last 50 feet of the customer experience, between the front door and the car. While we work to refine that interaction, we also need to understand how operating this type of delivery in a more densely populated city will impact the customer experience and the specific delivery challenges it might present.” said Kevin Vasconi, Domino’s® executive vice president.
Notably, the self-driving Ford Fusion Hybrids won’t actually be driving themselves. The cars will be manually driven but dressed to look like an autonomous vehicle. The driver will not interact with the consumer at all, instead leaving the autonomous technology to respond to customer needs.
As the two-month test continues, Ford will continue to develop its self-driving technology in partnership with Argo AI. Should everything go according to plan, self-driving Ford Fusion Hybrids could enter mass production by 2021, something we here at Jimmy Michel Motors can’t wait to see.