Domino's is rolling the dice on pizza delivery robots

Houston, Texas – Domino's Pizza is going where no business has gone before. The company will be sending driverless robot cars on pizza delivery missions starting this week.

Domino's is rolling with the punches and taking on new technology to beef up customer service and efficiency. A storefront in Copenhagen showed one of many worldwide locations.
Domino's is rolling with the punches and taking on new technology to beef up customer service and efficiency. A storefront in Copenhagen showed one of many worldwide locations.  © IMAGO / Ritzau Scanpix

America's largest pizza chain has partnered with Nuro, a self-driving vehicle tech company, to get pizzas into the hands of customers by way of robot.

The pilot for the service is set to kick off in Houston, Texas this week.

Nuro has already had a successful trial run with CVS Pharmacy, Kroger, and Walmart for prescription medication deliveries.

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According to the New York Post, Domino's initially partnered with the company as a result of being short-staffed with delivery drivers – an issue that worsened when the Covid-19 pandemic hit.

Customers who have opted into the pilot program at the Woodland Heights location will be able to track their order with the driverless van via text messaging.

Once Nuro's specialized R2 van gets to the intended destination, customers will enter a specific pin attached to their order, which prompts the vehicle to open its doors and present the customer with their pizza pie.

The service industry was one of the hardest hit by the pandemic, leaving much room for innovation when it comes to connecting customers with the food and drinks they love.

Making a mark in the delivery world

Dennis Maloney, Domino's chief innovation officer, released a statement about the partnership and the future of delivery.

"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," he said.

Yet, any type of innovation comes with its challenges.

Houston is the fourth-largest city in the US, and its elaborate highway makeup has created "challenging scenarios for our technology to work with," said Cosimo Leipold, Nuro's head of partner relations.

Nuro's R2 robot vans are smaller than the average car. They were the first driverless vehicles to obtain approval for use on roadways by the US Department of Transportation last February.

Cover photo: IMAGO / Ritzau Scanpix

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