Domino's experiments with self-driving pizza robo-car

Posted Jun 18, 2019 by Tim Sandle
Domino's, the pizza chain, is experimenting with a self-driving pizza delivery system in the U.S. city of Houston. This takes the form of a temperature controlled robo-car, which takes the pizza directly to the customer.
File photo: Domino s Pizza delivery vehicle.
File photo: Domino's Pizza delivery vehicle.
Jesse Edgar
For the pilot the pizza chain is working with the autonomous-driving tech startup Nuro (which sprung out of Google’s self-driving car project Waymo). The new scheme will utilize a custom designed autonomous vehicle known as the R2 (indicating a second generation vehicle). The intention is to meet the needs of Houston-based Domino's customers who place orders online. Domino's generates over 65 percent of its sales via digital channels.
The robo-car is loaded with pizzas and it then self-drives through the streets. On reaching the home of a customer, the customer is alerted by an app and can then go to the vehicle, enter a PIN, and then collect their still warm pre-paid pizza product.
According to Kevin Vasconi, Domino's executive vice president and chief information officer: "We are always looking for new ways to innovate and evolve the delivery experience for our customers. Nuro's vehicles are specially designed to optimize the food delivery experience, which makes them a valuable partner in our autonomous vehicle journey. "
He adds: "The opportunity to bring our customers the choice of an unmanned delivery experience, and our operators an additional delivery solution during a busy store rush, is an important part of our autonomous vehicle testing."
Nuro is a startup that has been attracting big investment, attracting $1 billion from SoftBank earlier in 2019. The firm has been operating set of self-driving vehicles in Texas, which deliver local goods.