Ford Motor Co. and Domino's Pizza are slicing out a key component of the pizza delivery process: human interaction.
In a research project in Domino's hometown of Ann Arbor, Mich., the companies are exploring how customers would react to accepting their pies from a self-driving car.
Although the test car will be manually driven, customers will be able to track their orders through GPS and will receive a text message when the vehicle approaches that shows them how to retrieve their pizza from a storage compartment where the rear side window would normally be.
The companies said the research is focused on how humans interact with the cars and what happens in the last 50 feet of the delivery experience, including whether customers are even willing to leave their homes or dorms to get their order.
"All of our testing research is focused on our goal to someday make deliveries with self-driving vehicles as seamless and customer-friendly as possible," Russell Weiner, president of Domino's USA, said.