Dominos And Nuro Partners For Autonomous Pizza Delivery In Houston, Aims For Nationwide By 2020
Domino's will start delivering pizzas in Houston with fully autonomous vehicles called the "R2". The largest pizza company in the world has partnered with Nuro, a technology startup company in Silicon Valley that manufactures unmanned delivery vehicles.
Customers can place an order online and pay for it just the way an ordinary order works. They can then track the location of the vehicle using the app, and when the Nuro autonomous vehicle arrived, they can take their pizza from the vehicle using a special code that will unlock the compartment of the R2.
This partnership will expand Nuro's autonomous delivery operations, which have been carried out successfully and safely in the Houston metropolitan area since 2018. Nuro is transforming local commerce through delivery without drivers. The company develops and operates a fleet of autonomous vehicles that deliver local products of all kinds, from meals to dry-cleaning. Its latest partner before Dominos is the US supermarket chain Kroger Co., where the autonomous vehicle R2 delivers groceries.
As for Dominos, the partnership with Nuro will help the chain determine whether autonomous vehicles are a solution for their restaurants to meet the demand during peak times when drivers are in short supply. Domino's has more than 6,000 restaurants in the USA, and due to the tight labor market, the company experiences a shortage of drivers and has up to 10,000 vacant positions throughout the country.
Domino's is also betting that with the R2 autonomous delivery vehicle, the chances of their pizzas crashing along the way will be lower and delivery time will be cut shorter. This is because many of their delivery guys encounter road accidents as well as instances wherein the pizza delivery will be late and thus will result for it being free.
The test is scheduled to begin anytime now in Domino branches along Houston. The company aims that by 2020, this will expand into other branches and will be nationwide by 2021.
It is worth noting that this is not the first time Domino's decided to innovate with autonomous cars. Domino's began testing the autonomous car two years ago in partnership with Ford Motor Co., but in that case, each vehicle had a driver behind the wheel, for safety.
Domino's is also not alone in this idea as Pizza Hut is also investing in the same technology. In January last year, the company announced a partnership with Toyota for the development of a standalone vehicle with the same purpose.