Domino's Pizza, Inc. DPZ is partnering with the self-driving delivery company Nuro for an autonomous pizza delivery program in Houston.
What Happened: Beginning this week, select customers that place a prepaid online order from the Domino's location in the city’s Woodland Heights section can choose to have their pizza delivered by Nuro's R2 robot vehicle.
Customers are provided with a unique PIN to retrieve their order from the vehicle’s touchscreen, at which point the R2's doors open upward for the pizza order to be taken.
Dennis Maloney, Domino's senior vice president and chief innovation officer, stated the 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.”
Why It Matters: Texas is one of three states — along with Arizona and California — where Nuro’s R2 autonomous delivery vehicle also received a federal exemption from the U.S. Department of Transportation and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to operate without a driver and occupants on public roads.
Domino’s did a pilot program with Nuro in Houston in 2019. Last month, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. CMG invested in the $500 million Series C funding round for Nuro. Although Chipotle did not disclose the level of its investment in the funding round, the company noted that its digital business grew by 174% year-over-year during 2020, with roughly half of those sales coming from delivery orders.
"We are always seeking opportunities that provide innovative solutions for increasing access and convenience for our guests," said Curt Garner, Chipotle's chief technology officer.
(Photo courtesy Domino’s)
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