This summer, don’t be surprised if the pizza you’ve ordered is delivered by a bot.
Pizza Hut on Wednesday announced that it has joined forces with shipping company FedEx on the FedEx SameDay Bot, an autonomous delivery device that promises to “revolutionize” local delivery.
The bot, which is in development now for a planned test this summer, would support existing delivery staff “to improve the efficiency of the delivery process without compromising the quality” of the pizza.
“As we look to advance our business and continue providing experiences that our customers deserve, exploring technology solutions that allow our team members to do what they do on an even greater scale is critical to our success,” Nicolas Burquier, chief customer and operations officer for Pizza Hut U.S., said in a statement. “Testing of the SameDay Bot with FedEx is just one more way we’re looking to the future of delivery at Pizza Hut.”
Pizza chains have been testing and developing new delivery technologies in recent years as they’ve sought to make delivery more efficient and generate attention from consumers in a competitive market.
Pizza Hut rival Domino’s Pizza has started using an autonomous delivery vehicle it calls DRU—Domino’s Robotic Unit.
And the chains have worked on developing vehicles that keep pizzas hot. Pizza Hut announced a pizza-making truck last year, for instance.
The companies are also looking for ways to improve delivery amid intense competition from third-party services—the five largest generated sales of nearly $10 billion last year, up 55% year over year, according to Restaurant Business sister company Technomic.
FedEx has been working with Deka Research and Development Corp. to develop its bot, which features technology that allows it to navigate unpaved surfaces, curbs or steps. The company plans to test the bot this summer in select markets, “pending final city approvals.”
“The FedEx SameDay Bot is an innovation being developed to change the face of local delivery and help brands, like Pizza Hut, address the growing needs of their customers,” Brie Carere, chief marketing and communications officer for FedEx, said in a statement. “The FedEx bot looks to redefine delivery for this market in a manner that is cost-effective, safe and environmentally friendly.”
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