The restaurant industry, much like the auto industry, is still a few years away from fully capitalizing on self-driving car technology. So don't expect food to show up at your doorstep without human aid anytime soon.
— Danni Santana
According to the agreement announced today, DoorDash will use autonomous vehicles to bring food to select customers in the San Francisco area. The program, set to begin in the first quarter of 2019, will primarily serve as a learning experience for both parties involved. DoorDash CEO Tony Xu said the companies would “evaluate and develop safety, operational, and other learnings” in the pilot.
“We see autonomous vehicles playing a major role in the future of delivery as consumer behaviors continue to shift online,” he added in a statement.
Adding to a Trend
DoorDash is not the first third-party delivery company to hint at food delivery via autonomous vehicles in the future. Postmates announced a similar deal with Ford last year. The company last month also rolled out a Minion-style looking robot to complete deliveries in Los Angeles, with plans to expand the service to more U.S. cities in the by 2020.
The buck doesn’t stop with third-party aggregators, however. Dominos and Pizza Hut, which sport their own delivery channels, have toyed with the idea of delivering pizzas to customers using self-driving technology as well. The chains have partnered with with Ford and Toyota, respectively, over the last 18 months on those efforts. Both chains have acknowledged the technology is still in its early stages.