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Domino's Plans To Start Using Robots To Deliver Pizza

Be sure to give your pizza delivery boy a nice tip the next time you see him, because he could be out of a job soon.

Domino's Pizza and Ford have unveiled a new self-driving car that they hope will revolutionize the pizza delivery business. Instead of relying on human drivers to deliver their pies, from now on the restaurant chain hopes these robot vehicles will take over their jobs.

Automation is a hot topic lately, especially when it comes to our local grocery stores. More and more of them seem happy to replace their cashiers with self-serve checkout machines, but many customers don't feel comfortable using these devices.

Not only does checking out with a machine take the human element out of shopping, it can also be confusing and frustrating for shoppers who don't use computers. Plus, some say these machines are taking jobs away from humans.

To test if people are willing to accept having their pizza delivered by a car, Domino's plans to introduce their "delivery bots" to the American public in a 6-week test later this month. But prepare for a few speed bumps if you're chosen as part of the test.

It turns out there are still a few kinks in the system...

Domino's recognizes that many people want to avoid these delivery calls altogether, so they'll let you decide if you want to test the new system.

Certain customers in Ann Arbor, Michigan will have the choice to let a robot deliver their food or to do things the old fashioned way. While their pizza is being delivered customers can track the car using GPS, and the vehicle will send them a text message once it's outside their house.

But you will have to walk to the end of your driveway for the pizza, which is stored in a heated compartment in the car's back seat. You also need to enter a 4-digit pin code (based on your phone number) to unlock the window and get your food. But at least you're not expected to tip the robot.

There are other problems customers might run into during the test: like how the delivery car is no good for pizza parties, because it can only carry 4 pies and 5 sides at a time. And while a driver and engineer will be inside the car, they're ordered not to help the customer with any problems.

“We’re still focused on the last 50 feet,” Domino’s spokeswoman Jenny Fouracre admits. “That’s a big challenge - getting (the pizza) from the curb to the door.” Still, with 1 billion pizzas delivered around the world each year, Domino's will save a lot of dough if they can replace even some of their 100,000 drivers.

Should robots replace delivery drivers? Tell us what you think!