Domino’s announced today that it has partnered with Nuro to deliver pizzas in the Houston, TX area via self-driving delivery vehicles. Select customers will be able to choose the “autonomous” option from participating stores later this year.
Nuro’s R2, which is a pod-like low-speed vehicle that’s about half the size of a normal car, is built for hauling goods (there is no space for a driver). Customers receiving their Domino’s order via one of Nuro’s vehicles will be able to track the progress of the vehicle through the Domino’s app and, once it arrives, use a PIN to unlock the cargo bay holding their pizza.
Since there is no driver for this type of delivery, it also means there is no one who will run the pizzas to the front door, so customers who opt for it will have to (shudder) walk to the curb. Of course, with no driver that also means there’s no need to tip.
Houston is becoming a hotbed of autonomous action for Nuro, which has also been running a self-driving grocery delivery pilot with Kroger in that city since March. There was also a report earlier this year that Nuro and Uber were talking about a food delivery partnership in Houston later this year, though there’s been nothing official announced yet. All in all, it looks like that $940 million investment from Softbank in February is really helping Nuro scale up.
This Nuro partnership also reinforces why we put Domino’s on our Food Tech 25 list this year. The pizza company has already started testing chatbots, in-car ordering and delivery to non-addressed locations (like a beach). With self-driving delivery, Domino’s is taking that further down its delivery stack.