Ford and Dominos have recently partnered to test self-driving pizza delivery by randomly selecting customers to receive pizzas delivered in self-driving vehicles (there is a Ford safety technician as well as other researchers in the vehicle). Although this seems more like a PR gimmick than actual progress, it may be a good indicator of the industries who stand to make the most profit by removing drivers from their cost equation.
Although the idea of pizza delivered in a robotic car is thrilling, the reality of having to actually leave your house to meet the car is significantly less appealing. The same is true for other delivery services like Amazon or other retailers, getting the product from the car to the door or mailbox becomes the single greatest obstacle- requiring a whole new class of AI. Whatsmore, most deliveries take place while the customer is away from home which completely eliminates the possibility of autonomous delivery.
When considering who stands to benefit the most from self-driving vehicles, trucking immediately comes to mind. Some speculate that the roadways will have self-driving trucks long before autonomous passenger vehicles become the mainstay, although others don’t even factor delivery into the future predictions. Due to a shortage of qualified truck drivers, there is extra pressure for manufacturers to find alternatives. It seems nearly certain that mass goods transport will be the driving force of autonomous vehicles.
Nothing happens in leaps, the Dominos/Ford partnership is just a small example of the kinds of baby steps that will be necessary to effectively integrate self-driving cars into society. What do you think?
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