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04/12/2021

Domino’s testing pizza delivery by self-driving robot car in Houston

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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The world’s largest pizza retailer (by sales) is piloting autonomous delivery at one of its stores in Houston. 

Starting the week of April 12, Domino’s Pizza will provide customers who place prepaid orders on certain days and times from its store in the Woodland Heights section of Houston the opportunity to have their pizza delivered by Nuro self-driving R2 robotic vehicle. Domino’s and Nuro initially publicized plans for a pilot in June 2019. 

Select customers who place a prepaid website order from the participating store can opt to have their order delivered by R2. Customers who are selected will receive text alerts, which will update them on R2's location and provide them with a unique PIN to retrieve their order. Customers may also track the vehicle via GPS on their order confirmation page. 

Once R2 arrives, customers will be prompted to enter their PIN on the bot's touchscreen. R2's doors will then safely open upward, revealing the customer's Domino's order.

Domino’s has been experimenting with technology-enhanced delivery methods for the past few years. In August 2019, the company began piloting custom e-bikes for pizza delivery through a partnership with electric bicycle (e-bike) provider Rad Power Bikes. And in the retailer conducted a two-month driverless delivery pilot in Miami, in partnership with Ford Motor Co. This followed an earlier pilot in Ann Arbor, Mich., that focused on the last 50 ft. of the delivery experience, from car to customer.

“There is still so much for our brand to learn about the autonomous delivery space,” said Dennis Maloney, Domino's senior VP and chief innovation officer. "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. 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."

"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," said Dave Ferguson, Nuro co-founder and president. "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."