Product Managers Prepare For Driverless Pizza Delivery Cars

Pizza companies are very interested in driverless cars
Pizza companies are very interested in driverless cars
Image Credit: Abhijit Bhaduri

Could there be any better job than being a product manager at a pizza company? I mean, you have the ability to fully understand your product (and eat it to!), you know who your competition is, and your customers clearly want and desire your product. What more could a product manager ask for? Oh, perhaps more market share? Pizza companies have been locked in a battle for market share since the market was invented. As the future starts to arrive, they are now looking at a game changer that could change their product development definition if they can get it correct, this just might give them the advantage that they have been looking for: driverless cars.

The Arrival Of Driverless Cars

The world of companies that make and deliver pizza is a crowded place. However, two firms stand out as the true major players in this market: Domino’s and Pizza Hut. As the product managers at both of these firms became aware of the potential that driverless cars could hold for them, they started looking for car firms that they could partner with so that they can add it to their product manager resume. Domino’s has entered into a partnership with Ford. They have agreed to be part of Ford’s test run of driverless vehicles in Miami. A short test of pizza delivery has already been conducted by both firms in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Pizza Hut has decided to partner with Toyota.

Driverless cars represent a big change in how goods get transported. The car companies are excited because they are all looking to get an advantage over the other car companies. They view driverless cars as becoming a big part of how things will be delivered in the future. The pizza companies are excited about driverless cars because their product managers view driverless cars as a way to stay up with advancing technology. The hope is that driverless cars will allow pizza companies to make deliveries of pizza cheaper and perhaps even more efficient.

In the past, the people who have been trying to predict the future have believed that the first driverless vehicles to arrive would be driverless taxis. Now that thinking is changing, it turns out that driverless cars that deliver packages may be easier to create. The thinking is that delivery vehicles can be optimized for safety without having to worry about the comfort of passengers. Additionally, since there is no interaction with humans, issues such as paying for rides or getting in or out of the car don’t have to be considered. An additional advantage that the pizza product managers have going for them is that their driverless cars will be operating along constant routes, at slow speeds, and during off-hours. All of these factors combine to reduce the complexity of autonomous driving.

What The Future Holds

One of the big issues that pizza product managers are going to have to solve is finding out how their customers want to interact with a driverless delivery car. If the car does not have a human on board, this is going to be a new experience for everyone involved. Product managers are going to have to find out how customers are going to feel about having to walk out to the driverless car in order to get their pizza. Initial trials have shown that customers like this. They like not having to talk to the driver of the car and they like not having to tip.

Initial tests have revealed some difficulties that the pizza product manager are going to have to find ways to solve. In some cases the driverless cars ran into problems when there was no place for them to park. Additionally, it can be a real challenge for a driverless car to navigate to the entrance of an apartment complex. Another interesting point is that although customers said that they liked not having to interact with the driver of the car, a number of them still ended up talking to the car.

There are additional issues that the pizza product managers are going to have to find ways to work out. In one scenario, parents would order a pizza to be delivered for their children. The parents would then go out for the evening. The problem with this is that the driverless car was programmed to contact the parent on their mobile phone in order to let them know that their pizza had arrived. If this issue is not worked out, the fear is that it could result in a number of failed deliveries.

What All Of This Means For You

The future is coming faster than any of us really realize. A new era of driverless cars is being developed and nobody is more excited about this than the product managers who work for pizza delivery firms who are looking to update their product manager job description. Driverless cars are going to change how they get their pizzas to their customers, its just that we are not really sure exactly how it is going to change things.

The two largest pizza delivery companies, Domino’s and Pizza Hut have realized that the arrival of driverless cars is going to change their market. Domino’s has partnered with Ford to develop driverless cars and Pizza Hut has partnered with Toyota. The hope is that driverless cars will allow pizza companies to make deliveries of pizza cheaper and perhaps even more efficient. Many people had thought that driverless taxis would the first to arrive. However, now people are thinking that driverless delivery vehicles may arrive first because you don’t have to worry about the comfort of people who are riding in them. Pizza product managers are going to have to determine how people are going to want to interact with driverless vehicles. There are issues that will have to be solved such as parking, finding the correct location, and having parents order pizza for their kids.

Driverless cars are coming. It is the wise pizza product manager who gets involved in the development of these cars early on in order to ensure that they will be well suited to delivering pizzas later on. As with any new technology, there will be issues that need to be worked out; however, as of right now there do not seem to be any problems that cannot be solved. The future of pizza delivery is probably driverless cars. Now lets see which company we decide to call when we want a pizza!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Product Management Skills™

Question For You: Do you think humans will have to be involved in driverless pizza delivery vehicles?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

As product managers, it is our responsibility to use our product development definition to create products that our customers will want. With a little luck, they’ll discover our products, decide to buy them, and then place an order. You might think that a product manager’s job would be over at this point in time. However, the good folks at Amazon have succeeded in making our lives just a little bit more difficult. The Amazon Prime program provides Amazon customers with free two-day shipping for anything that they order from Amazon. What this means is the product managers are starting to discover that their customers have been programmed to expect to be able to receive anything that they order within two days. Are you ready to deliver on this expectation?