Contact-free food delivery is one of many innovations dreamed up during the pandemic, but Domino’s wants to take the concept to a new level. On Monday, Domino’s announced that it has partnered with self-driving delivery company Nuro to bring autonomous pizza deliveries to Houston, Texas as part of a pilot program.
As Domino’s explains in a press release, select customers who place a prepaid order on Dominos.com on specific days and times from the Domino’s in the Woodland Heights neighborhood (3209 Houston Ave.) can choose to have their pizza delivered by one of Nuro’s R2 robots, which is the first autonomous, driverless on-road delivery vehicle to receive regulatory approval from the US Department of Transportation.
If you happen to live in the delivery range of this one specific Domino’s store in Texas, here’s how you can attempt to get a pizza delivered to your home by a robot. When you place a prepaid order on the Domino’s website from the Woodland Heights location, you might get the option to have your order delivered by R2. If you opt in, you’ll get text alerts from Domino’s updating you on the robot’s journey and supplying you with a unique PIN number that you will need to collect your order. When R2 arrives, you can enter the PIN on its touch screen, at which point the robot’s doors will slowly open and you can grab your food before the vehicle departs.
Dennis Maloney, Domino’s senior vice president and chief innovation officer, said the following in a statement:
We’re excited to continue innovating the delivery experience for Domino’s customers by testing autonomous delivery with Nuro in Houston. 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. 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.
The pilot program is just launching this week, but Domino’s and Nuro initially teamed up in 2019. At the time, Domino’s noted that Nuro’s delivery robots had “safely and successfully been running in the Houston metro area since March 2019.” The R2 had yet to launch, but now it appears the new version is ready for primetime.