ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Domino’s Pizza and Nuro today announced a partnership to provide autonomous pizza delivery in the Houston area later this year. The new collaboration will expand Nuro’s autonomous delivery operations, which the company said has been safely and successfully running in the Houston metropolitan area since March 2019.
Domino’s will use a custom unmanned vehicle, known as the R2, to deliver pizzas. Deliveries will be provided to serve select Houston Domino’s customers who place orders online later in the year, the companies said in a statement.
“We are always looking for new ways to innovate and evolve the delivery experience for our customers,” said Kevin Vasconi, Domino’s executive vice president and chief information officer. “Nuro’s vehicles are specially designed to optimize the food delivery experience, which makes them a valuable partner in our autonomous vehicle journey. 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.”
Select customers who order online from one of Domino’s participating stores will have the opportunity to use Nuro’s autonomous delivery. Once they have opted in, customers can track the vehicle via the Domino’s app and will be provided with a unique PIN code to unlock the compartment to get their pizza.
“We are excited to expand our autonomous delivery service in Houston with Domino’s delivery,” noted Cosimo Leipold, Nuro’s head of partner relations. “Domino’s delivers millions of pizzas around the world every day, and the company shares our passion for focusing on the customer experience. We see incredible opportunity in offering Nuro’s world-class autonomous technology to Domino’s customers, accelerating our shared mission to transform local commerce.”
Expanding driverless delivery
Nuro has been working with several companies to provide driverless delivery in several markets, developing and operating a fleet of self-driving vehicles that deliver local goods of all kinds, “from dinner to dry cleaning.” The company said it helps merchants deliver goods to customers quickly, affordably, and safely. The company began making driverless deliveries in 2018, and has raised more than $1 billion in financing, from investors that include SoftBank and Greylock.
For example, in December 2018 the company teamed up with The Kroger Co. to provide grocery delivery services for customers in Scottsdale, Ariz. Several other companies providing autonomous, last-mile delivery services include Starship, Boxbot, Marble, and Robby Technologies. Amazon has also been testing mobile robot delivery through its Amazon Scout program. In the pizza space, Pizza Hut made a splash with FedEx to test pizza delivery via its SameDay Bot.
The market for delivery robots is expected to grow from $11.9 million in 2018 to $34 million by 2024, with a compound annual growth rate of 19.15% during the next five years, according to a Markets and Markets report. The key driver is the reduction of cost of last-mile deliveries, from $1.60 per delivery via human drivers, down to $0.06 per delivery through autonomous robots, the company said.