Last week, Domino’s Pizza Inc. announced its plans to begin testing Ford Fusion self-driving cars for pizza deliveries. These Fusions have been equipped with radars and cameras focused on scanning the roads and lidars — laser beam radars — that intantaniusly beam the car’s surroundings in order to create a highly-detailed digital map that the car then uses to find the house of its delivery. Although the specs of these cars and the mere idea of self-driving cars sounds amazing, it’s unfortunate that it will change the pizza-ordering dynamic we all know and love.
Unlike the delivery of many other types of food, the bond from ordering pizza and said deliverance of pizza is sacred. In breaking down the structure of the culture of pizza-ordering, it is evident that the second best part of the whole experience relies on there being a delivery person handing you the pizza you’re about to eat. Even Domino’s chief digital officer Dennis Maloney asked, “There’s no human interaction … will people mind coming out of their house?” To that the answer would obviously be yes. One does not simply order pizza with the intention of leaving the house in the first place, making the existence of these driverless delivery cars paradoxical.
In addition, in merely thinking about the early experimentation of these Domino’s cars, I can imagine several things that could occur that would tamper with the amount of time it takes to deliver pizza, as though it didn’t take long already. Just to list through some likely scenarios that could occur: people may be prone to confusion, errors in radar due to weather could occur and affect the car’s navigation system, or the car could malfunction for any reason and would require human assistance to fix it before it can continue the deliver.
Essentially, this new progression in pizza-delivering service has the potential to cause more trouble for people ordering pizza than good. People would have to pay attention to their phones more, physically have to leave their homes to approach an empty car, and figure out the payment process from automated screens set up in the car’s exterior — a list of inconveniences. Pizza delivering is great and will continue to be great, so no need for replacements.
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A version of this appeared in the Tuesday, Sep. 5 print edition. Email Cara Zambrano at [email protected]