Consumer research by Ford and Domino’s
According to a press release published on August 29, Ford (F) and Domino’s (DPZ) are collaborating. In this collaboration, Ford self-driving vehicles will deliver pizza to select Domino’s customers in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Ford will use its Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Research Vehicle to deliver pizza to Domino’s customers who agree to be a part of this testing program. Domino’s Tracker will allow these customers to track the Ford autonomous delivery vehicle online using GPS. Also, customers will receive text messages on how to retrieve their pizza from the vehicle using a passcode.
The press release states that this test will allow both Ford and Domino’s to “investigate customer reactions to interacting with a self-driving vehicle as a part of their delivery experience.”
Ford to bet on self-driving commercial trucks
According to a recent Reuters report, Ford “is considering deploying self-driving vehicle technology in larger commercial vehicles.” To test these vehicles, Ford is in talks with several companies from different industries.
Self-driving trucks could hurt millions of jobs in the US but could be very helpful from a company’s perspective, as they would allow companies to reduce their costs dramatically. Thus, getting the early edge in the self-driving truck segment could open new doors for Ford to lead the industry going forward.
Recent investment and collaborations
In February 2017, Ford announced a $1 billion investment in tech startup Argo AI. For a little background, Argo AI operates in the field of artificial intelligence, and it was founded by former employees of tech giants including Google (GOOGL) (GOOG) and Uber.
Ford’s investment in Argo AI wasn’t the first time that Ford collaborated with a tech startup. Last year in August, Ford acquired SAIPS to speed up the development of autonomous vehicles. SAIPS is an Israel-based company working in the field of computer vision and machine learning.
Last year, Ford also invested in two other US tech start-ups, Civil Maps and Velodyne, working in the field of high-resolution 3D mapping and LiDAR sensors (light detection and ranging), respectively.
These continued investments and collaborations with tech startups could provide Ford an edge in the vehicle automation space over its peers (IYK) including General Motors (GM) and Fiat Chrysler (FCAU).
Continue to the next part where we’ll find out why Tesla’s fully autonomous vehicles could stand out going forward.