The relentless march of progress has come for pizza delivery drivers. Domino's announced it will begin testing a pizza delivery robot in Houston this week.
First announced in 2019, the pizza giant has partnered with Nuro to utilize a self-driving car for deliveries from its Woodlands Heights location (3209 Houston Ave.). When a customer places an order from that location, they will have the option to select delivery via Nuro R2.
Once they've ordered online, customers will receive a text message with a PIN and an update on the R2's location. When the robot arrives, simply enter the number on a touchscreen to retrieve that Ultimate Pepperoni pizza and Stuffed Cheesy Bread.
How customers respond to the program remains to be seen. Perhaps they'll miss the convenience of having an actual person ring the doorbell with a piping hot pizza in hand. Then again, robots don't receive tips or want to engage in awkward small talk while you sign the receipt.
"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," said Dennis Maloney, Domino's senior vice president and chief innovation officer, in a statement. 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."
Nuro's self-driving cars are a familiar presence on Houston's roads. Back in 2019, Nuro tested Toyata Priuses equipped with its technology for grocery delivery. The fully self-driving R2 has been in use by both Kroger and CVS for deliveries in some neighborhoods, CultureMap sister site InnovationMap reports.
"We're excited to introduce our autonomous delivery bots to a select set of Domino's customers in Houston," Nuro co-founder and president Dave Ferguson added. We can't wait to see what they think."