Autonomous Domino's pizza deliveries starting later this year

18 Juin, 2019, 17:38 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Domino’s and Nuro will test autonomous pizza delivery using the custom unmanned vehicle known as the R2 in Houston

Domino's announced on Monday that it is teaming up with Nuro, a startup focused on autonomous deliveries, on a new pilot program in Houston, Texas. In its release, Nuro said that the Domino's delivery tie-in will use a custom vehicle called R2, which should make its first appearance later this year. They're best known for their small, quirky delivery vehicles with interiors specifically created to carry products (there's no room for a driver or a passenger of any kind).

The pizza will arrive in Nuro's R2 vehicle, a custom-built autonomous vehicle designed for delivering food and other items.

There is no room for a human driver and cars navigate completely on their own. But in that case, a safety driver at the wheel.

Unlike other commercial self-driving vehicles, many of which are geared toward either transporting passports or larger goods, Nuro's robots have a decidedly lower footprint.

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The partnership marks a big step for the prospect of autonomously delivered goods in the USA and a boon for Nuro which raised $940 million from SoftBank in February. "Nuro's vehicles are specially created to optimize the food delivery experience, which makes them a valuable partner in our autonomous vehicle journey". Given Nuro's expertise in this area, it's not hard to see why Domino's partnered up with them.

"Domino's is the global leader in pizza delivery, selling 3 million pizzas per day from over 16,000 stores worldwide", Nuro wrote on a blog post.

Nuro, for the unaware, is a robotics company that has been trying to "transform local commerce through driverless delivery". Chinese company, Neolix, will ramp up production of its robotic caravan this year. The company did not elaborate on specific roll-out plans beyond that, but it sounds like customers will need to manually opt-in to autonomous delivery; it won't be an automatic transition.

Its factory reportedly has a capacity of about 30,000 vehicles per year with a price tag of about $30,000 each.

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