- Domino's Pizza and Ford Motor Company are launching a second round of self-driving delivery vehicle testing in Miami, a news release announced. For the two-month test, the companies are leveraging what they learned in the first round in Ann Arbor, MI, but in a larger, more urban environment.
- For the new test, a Ford Fusion Hybrid will be manually driven but outfitted to look like a self-driving car. It will make Domino's pizza deliveries around Miami to customers who have ordered online and opted to participate in the test. Customers can track the vehicle via GPS and will receive a text message as the vehicle approaches with details on how to unlock the Heatwave Compartment using a PIN.
- With the second round of testing, Ford is establishing a foundation for a driverless delivery and ride-hail service and a fleet-management center, according to a Recode report. Ford is also testing self-driving deliveries with Postmates.
Domino's and Ford's second round of tests in Miami will not be truly driverless at first, as the companies are trying to learn more about how consumers will interact with autonomous vehicles, and will be focused on the "last 50 feet of the customer experience, between the front door and the car," per the release. This should help the brands gauge how heavily populated areas can impact customer experience when it comes to driverless delivery. Autonomous vehicles are primed to considerably transform how both companies' operate in the near future, making this sort experimentation crucial to identifying potential pain points and avoiding mishaps, technological and otherwise.
By expanding its self-driving delivery into a larger urban area, Ford is positioning itself ahead of the competition in the race to offer self-driving technology on a wider scale. While other carmakers have tested self-driving delivery and ride-hail services, Ford's commitment to set up a fleet-management system to handle maintenance and operation could be a game-changer. Once perfected, driverless technology could offer many possibilities for the business and omnichannel shipping and marketing sectors.
On-demand delivery services have seen major growth over the past few years, as companies like Postmates and UberEats have popped up. The emerging driverless technology will likely be a major disruptor for the space. The move toward better understanding how driverless technology can impact consumers and brands is part of Ford's strategy to become a total mobility company as opposed to just a seller of cars.