On Monday, Domino’s and Nuro—a robotics company based in California—announced the launch of autonomous pizza delivery in Houston. Starting this week, select prepaid online order customers will have the chance to experience a delivery from Nuro’s R2 robot. The R2 bot, impressively, is the first autonomous and passengerless on-road delivery vessel to boast Department of Transportation regulatory approval.
The initial rollout is focused on a Domino’s location at 3209 Houston Avenue in the Woodland Heights area. Select customers from the participating store can choose to opt in for potential R2 delivery when placing an order online. Those who are selected for an R2-delivered pizza order will then receive alerts on location and a unique PIN via text message. Upon arrival, customers will use their unique PIN on the robot’s touchscreen, at which point the craft’s doors will open to reveal the goods.
“We’re excited to continue innovating the delivery experience for Domino’s customers by testing autonomous delivery with Nuro in Houston,” Dennis Maloney, Domino’s senior vice president and chief innovation officer, said Monday. “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.”
Other brands that have partnered with Nuro include Kroger and Walmart. The R2 is specifically designed to exclusively operate on public roads and is equipped with a pedestrian-protecting front end, electric propulsion, built-in cautious driving habits, and is currently being proposed as an option for city areas that are underserved.