TECHNOLOGY

Domino’s delivers – without the driver

BY Dan Berthiaume

Domino’s Pizza is bringing autonomous delivery to a major U.S. metro market.

The pizza chain will start providing autonomous deliveries to select customers who place online orders in Houston later this year. Domino’s will use the custom unmanned vehicle known as the R2 from robotics company Nuro.

Select customers who order online from one of Domino’s participating Houston-area stores will have the opportunity to use Nuro’s autonomous delivery. Once they have opted in, customers can track the vehicle via the Domino’s app and will be provided with a unique PIN code to unlock the compartment to get their pizza.

Domino’s has been testing the potential of autonomous vehicles to make pizza deliveries for a while. In February 2018, 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 feet of the delivery experience, from car to customer.

Now, Domino’s is piloting autonomous delivery with Mountain View, Calif.-based startup Nuro. The company may have selected Nuro at least in part based on successful piloting of self-driving grocery deliveries Kroger has conducted with Nuro vehicles this year in Houston and Scottsdale, Ariz.

“We are always looking for new ways to innovate and evolve the delivery experience for our customers,” said Kevin Vasconi, Domino’s executive VP and CIO. “Nuro’s vehicles are specially designed to optimize the food delivery experience, which makes them a valuable partner in our autonomous vehicle journey. The opportunity to bring our customers the choice of an unmanned delivery experience, and our operators an additional delivery solution during a busy store rush, is an important part of our autonomous vehicle testing.”

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