Some folks in Houston could get their pizzas by robot starting this week.
Domino’s Pizza and the autonomous vehicle maker Nuro will start testing their robotic pizza delivery vehicle for live deliveries at a location in Houston this week.
Customers of the Domino’s in Woodland Heights, at 3209 Houston Ave., can choose to have their pizza delivered by Nuro’s R2 robot—Nuro’s first autonomous, occupantless on-road vehicle with regulatory approval from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Customers who place a prepaid website order from that location can opt to have their order delivered by robot. Those customers will receive text alerts that will update them on R2’s location and provide them with a unique PIN to retrieve their order. Customers can also track the vehicle via GPS.
Once the robot arrives, customers will be prompted to enter their PIN on the robot’s touchscreen. The doors will “gently open,” and the customer can get their order.
“There is so much for our brand to learn about the autonomous delivery space,” Domino’s Chief Innovation Officer Dennis Maloney said in a statement. “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.”
Domino’s and Nuro have been working for some time on autonomous vehicle delivery, and Nuro has recently received some attention from other companies—Chipotle Mexican Grill invested in the company last month.
For the pizza chain, Nuro could provide a solution to perpetual challenges in finding drivers, a challenge that has only intensified in recent months as demand for pizzas meets a general hiring problem. “The growing demand for great-tasting pizza creates the need for more deliveries,” Maloney said. “We look forward to seeing how autonomous delivery can work along with Domino’s existing delivery experts to support the customers’ needs.”
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