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Ford and Domino’s to launch trial of self-driving delivery service

US car manufacturer Ford Motor Co is partnering with Domino's Pizza in order to conduct an innovative self-driving initiative. Ford announced its collaboration with Domino's this week and revealed that it will launch a self-driving pizza delivery service.

The test will be launched in Michigan and both companies have expressed their intrigue as to how consumers will react to having their pizza's delivered to their homes by self-driving vehicles. This isn't the first experiment of its kind in relation to advanced pizza delivery technology.

Australian-based Domino's Pizza Enterprises tested deliveries to its customers in New Zealand by using drones and self-driving robots. However, this test provides yet another example of how self-driving technology and automation will transform so many industries in the future.

Head of Ford's autonomous and electric vehicles, Sherif Marakby said the decision by Ford to collaborate with Domino's represented its 'broader ambitions' to use its self-driving cars to improve the movement of goods and people, and added that the automaker planned to cooperate with multiple partners for other 'self-driving' initiatives.

Ford has previously said that it will launch a self-driving shuttle for commercial ride-sharing fleets in 2021. It has been disclosed that during the trials in Michigan which will commence in September, the pizza's will be delivered to randomly selected customers in the Ann Arbor area in a Ford Fusion Hybrid which will be fully equipped with self-driving technology, although the vehicles will initially be piloted by human drivers.

Customers will also be able to track their delivery through GPS, and will also receive text messages on how to retrieve their pizza's when the delivery has arrived at their home. A number of Silicon Valley start-ups have experimented with on-demand delivery of beverages, food and packages, these businesses are normally financed by venture capital funds.

However, this isn't isolated to start-ups, with Uber and Amazon both declaring their interest in developing a platform that provides food, drink and packages on demand. Reservations remain on whether automation can solve vexing delivery problems like how to get pizza delivered to the fifth floor of a university dormitory.

The Ford-Domino's test vehicle will not attempt to resolve that conundrum. It will stop outside the customer's house, so it will not provide true door-to-door delivery service. "We're still focused on the last 50 feet," said Domino's spokeswoman Jenny Fouracre. "That's a big challenge - getting (the pizza) from the curb to the doors."