Self-driving vehicles hit the roads to deliver Brooklyn Pizza

Brooklyn Pizza will take your call to order a pizza, but you may not see a human face at your door. 

The Birmingham pizza restaurant is testing out self-driving delivery robots that will travel within four miles of the business at the corner of Maple and Henrietta. 

"When we made the first delivery, I mean the sense of accomplishment was – I couldn’t explain it in words," said Muthu Subramanian, senior director of advanced engineering at Magna International.

Parts manufacturer Magna International went door-to-door asking local businesses if they wanted to try out the robot. When Brooklyn Pizza expressed they had a bit of a staffing shortage, the two companies teamed up.

The goal of the pizza robot is to cut delivery costs and carbon emissions, Subramanian said. Using cameras and radar technology, the vehicle navigates traffic and obstacles on its way to customers. It can even reach up to 20 miles per hour.

Sometimes the concern with autonomous services is whether they take jobs away from actual human beings, but Magna doesn't see it that way. They say now business owners can focus their employees on potentially more crucial jobs.

MORE: Aldi matching 2019 Thanksgiving prices

"By us delivering pizza, (the owner) can use his employees to do what they do best, which is making pizza. I’m sure in other industries it’s the same way, right? Rather than spending time driving on the road to deliver something that takes 30 seconds to deliver, he might actually use them on other areas that he can use them better," Subramanian said.

They say pizza is just the beginning. In the future, Magna hopes these robots can deliver pretty much anything that can fit inside the vehicle.

"It could be e-commerce products that you order online, groceries, pharmaceuticals - you know, from your local pharmacy. The opportunity is endless," Subramanian said.