Beginning this week, some Domino’s customers in Houston, Texas can have a pizza delivered without any human interaction whatsoever.
Domino’s announced its partnership with an autonomous delivery vehicle startup called Nuro, to allow select customers to have their pizzas dropped at their door via Nuro’s R2 robot, Tech Crunch reports.
Domino’s senior vice president and chief innovation officer, Dennis Maloney, said in a statement: “There is still so much for our brand to learn about the autonomous delivery space. 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.”
On certain days and times, customers ordering from the Woodland Heights store in Houston can request R2 on Domino’s website. The robot uses radar, 360-degree cameras, and thermal imaging to direct its movement. Customers will receive texts along the journey to let them know where the robot is and what PIN they’ll need to access their pizza via the bot’s touchscreen.
The industry of contactless, autonomous food delivery has become a favorable staple amidst the pandemic, and Nuro is reportedly poised to become a leader in this space, Tech Crunch claims.
Nuro’s co-founder and president, Dave Ferguson said in a statement: “Nuro’s mission is to better everyday life through robotics. 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 originally announced the Domino’s partnership and began testing in Houston in 2019. That same year, the company began deploying its vehicles to transport Kroger groceries in Houston and Phoenix. At the end of 2020, it was approved to begin testing on public roads in California, delivering goods from partners like Walmart and CVS. Nuro is the first company to be granted regulatory approval by the U.S. Department of Transportation for a self-driving vehicle exemption.
Domino’s appears to be Nuro’s first large campaign into restaurant delivery, with Chipotle set to be next in line.