Are You Ready…For Your Pizza to Arrive in a Driverless Car?
Pizza delivered without the pizza man or pizza woman? Sounds like a ludicrous concept. But Dominos and Ford are teaming up to see if customers will welcome the idea of pizza being delivered by driverless cars. In this test, you won’t hear the doorbell ring. Just a text saying your pizza is here. This experiment started this week in Ann Arbor.
How Driverless Pizza Delivery Works
The pizzas will arrive in a Ford Fusion outfitted with radars and a camera that is used for autonomous testing. A Ford engineer will be at the wheel, but the front windows have been blacked out so customers won’t interact with the driver. People will have to come out of their homes once they get the text and type a four digit code into a keypad mounted on the car. This will open the rear window allowing customers to get their pizza from a heated compartment, which can carry up to four pizzas and five sides.
This experiment is meant to allow Dominos to understand how customers might interact with a driverless car. Will they want the car in their driveway or curb? Will they figure out how to use the keypad? What about weather-related snafus, like when it’s raining or snowing? This test phase will last six weeks after which Dominos will consider if this technology is ready for primetime. Ford wants to develop a fully driverless vehicle by 2021. The vehicle being used for the Dominos experiment has a special black and white paint job to help identify it as a research vehicle.
The Safety Issue
While driverless pizza delivery cars sound right out of a sci-fi movie, there is the question of how safe these vehicles are. We know that the technology in driverless cars is still shaky. A recent study by researchers at the University of Washington showed that self-driving cars could be easily confused into misreading road signs that would seem pretty normal to human drivers. For example, placing stickers or posters over part of a sign could be used to trick these driverless cars into ignoring a stop sign or suddenly braking in the middle of the road.
As California car accident lawyers who represent the rights of injured victims, we are concerned about the rush to get these driverless cars on our roadways and put them to a variety of uses without fully understanding the technology or the consequences of adding them to existing traffic. Until these vehicles are deemed safe, maybe it’s best just to stick to the good old pizza guy or pizza gal.