Domino’s Pizza will start delivering pizzas via Nuro driverless cars in Houston this week as part of a pilot program, the company announced Monday. The company says “select customers” in Houston who make a prepaid delivery order from its store in the Woodland Heights neighborhood during certain dates and times can have their pizza brought to them by a Nuro R2 robot.
Here’s how the pizza deliveries will work: a customer places and pays for an order online from the Woodland Heights store and opts in to have the order brought by the R2. The customer receives a unique PIN via text alert along with updates on the vehicle’s location. When the robot car arrives, the customer enters the PIN on its touch screen, which opens the R2’s doors. Pizza ensues.
Nuro’s R2 was the first driverless vehicle to receive regulatory approval from the US Department of Transportation last February, giving it a special exemption from federal safety requirements. Founded in 2018 by two former Google engineers, Nuro partnered with Domino’s in 2019 for the pizza delivery pilot in Houston, which is finally rolling out now.
Nuro vehicles are already being used for grocery deliveries and for deliveries from CVS Pharmacy stores in Houston. Last April, Nuro said it would use its vehicles to transport medical supplies around two California stadiums that were converted into treatment facilities for patients with COVID-19.
“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,” Dennis Maloney, Domino’s chief innovation officer, said in a statement. “We look forward to seeing how autonomous delivery can work along with Domino’s existing delivery experts to better support the customers’ needs.”