Imagine one night you’re hungry for a pizza. You decide to place an order online, pre-paying and choosing an R2 car delivery. A short time later, after you’ve been updated by text alerts and have checked the car’s location over GPS, a car pulls up to your home. Instead of seeing a delivery driver come to your door with your highly-anticipated pizza, you go out to meet a robotic car programmed to come to you. You’ve been provided with a PIN number, which you enter on the car’s touchscreen to open the door that reveals a hot Domino’s Pizza.
This is already happening — at least in one market: Houston, Texas. Domino’s Pizza is testing out this type of delivery in an effort to find innovative ways to keep their business moving.
Starting this week, Domino’s Pizza is teaming up with Nuro, a self-driving delivery company. to launch autonomous pizza delivery. The Nuro R2 self-driving car is the first completely autonomous, occupant-less on-road delivery vehicle that has earned approval from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The company announced the robot’s presence over Twitter with a short video that shows how it works:
Houston, we have a robot.
And that robot is named R2 by @nurobots: a self-driving, pizza-delivering vehicle.
And we’re testing it out in Houston, TX.
Welcome to the future of pizza delivery. pic.twitter.com/dxGmC5jHwe
— Domino's Pizza (@dominos) April 12, 2021
Dennis Maloney, Domino’s senior vice president and chief innovation officer, said he believes the company’s partnership with Nuro is just scratching the surface on how the company to improve customer service in a time when food delivery demand continues to rise.
“We’re excited to continue innovating the delivery experience for Domino’s customers by testing autonomous delivery with Nuro in Houston,” said Maloney in a press release. “There is still so much for our brand to learn about the autonomous delivery space. 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.”
Domino’s Pizza shops sell about 3 million pizzas per day, according to internal reports.
The pilot program is currently taking place at certain times and dates out of the Domino’s Pizza at 3209 Houston Ave. in Houston. The hope is to expand to other markets around the country.
Nuro’s co-founder Dave Ferguson said he is excited to be getting robots on the road in real-world applications to help feed hungry customers and support American businesses.
“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, in the release. “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.”
This isn’t the first time pizza companies have experimented with driverless delivery, though.
In 2018, Pizza Hut paired with Toyota to work on self-driving pizza delivery trucks. Then, in 2019, the company teamed up with FedEx in Memphis, Tennessee, to try out robotic pizza delivery.
Back in 2013 Domino’s locations in the U.K. tested drones to deliver pizzas. Then, in 2017, the company used a self-driving Ford Fusion hybrid car to deliver pizzas to random customers in Michigan.
What do you think of pizza delivery without the driver? Would you order dinner from a robotic pizza delivery car?
This story originally appeared on Simplemost. Checkout Simplemost for additional stories.