No ring of the doorbell, just a text. No tip for the driver? No problem in this test, where Domino's and Ford are teaming up to see if customers will warm to the idea of pizza delivered by driverless cars. Starting Wednesday, some pizzas in Domino's hometown of Ann Arbor, Mich., will arrive in a Ford Fusion outfitted with radars and a camera that's used for autonomous testing, per the AP. A Ford engineer will be at the wheel, but the front windows have been blacked out so customers won't interact with the driver. Instead, people will have to come out of their homes and type a four-digit code into a keypad mounted on the car. That opens the rear window and lets them retrieve their order from a heated compartment.
The experiment will help Domino's understand how customers will interact with a self-driving car, says company President Russell Weiner. Among the questions: Will they want the car in their driveway or by the curb? Will they understand how to use the keypad? Will they come outside if it's raining or snowing? Will they put their pizza boxes on top of the car and threaten to mess up its expensive cameras? Weiner said the company has 100,000 drivers in the US. In a driverless world, he said, he could see those employees taking on different roles within the company. (Read more Domino's Pizza stories.)