Domino’s Pizza announced Monday that the company has launched autonomous delivery in the Houston area in partnership with autonomous delivery company Nuro. Customers who order from the Domino’s in Woodland Heights, Houston will be able to — at specific times on specific days — choose to have their food delivered by Nuro’s R2 robot: an autonomous vehicle that has received regulatory approval from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Domino’s already hinted at their collaboration with Nuro at a media event in fall 2019, as previously reported by Nation’s Restaurant News, when the company said that the rollout of the autonomous vehicle was “near to completion.”
“This program will allow us to better understand how customers respond to the deliveries, how they interact with the robot and how it affects store operations,” Dennis Maloney, Domino’s senior vice president and chief innovation officer, said in a statement. “The growing demand for great-tasting pizza creates the need for more deliveries, and we look forward to seeing how autonomous delivery can work along with Domino’s existing delivery experts to better support the customers’ needs.”
Here's how it works: Customers can participate if they live in the delivery area of the participating location. They can choose to opt in if they place a prepaid order. Customers will receive text alerts when their order is ready and on its way and will receive a unique pin to track their pizza. They can also track the R2 vehicle via UPS on their order confirmation page. Once the order arrives, customers will be asked to enter their unique pin onto R2’s touchscreen and its doors will then open, revealing the “piping hot order.”
“Nuro’s mission is to better everyday life through robotics. Now, for the first time, we’re launching real world, autonomous deliveries with R2 and Domino’s,” Dave Ferguson, Nuro co-founder and president, said in a statement. “We’re excited to introduce our autonomous delivery bots to a select set of Domino’s customers in Houston. We can’t wait to see what they think.”
Nuro has been making waves recently in the tech and restaurant worlds. Just last month, Chipotle Mexican Grill announced that they would be investing in Nuro as part of their series C round of funding. Chipotle has not confirmed whether or not they will be implementing the technology at their own stores, but simply has stated that the investment is part of their technology “journey.”
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