Domino’s will begin using self-driving robotic trucks to deliver pizzas in Houston this year
- Domino’s pizza will use robotic delivery fleets to deliver pizzas in Houston
- Nuro’s self-driving vehicles are completely autonomous and travel 25 mph
- Customers will be given a pin number to unlock the trunk and collect the cargo
- Nuro’s robots will still continue to be followed by a tailing car
Domino’s could be putting some of its delivery drivers out of a job this year by rolling out a new wave of robot delivery vehicles in Texas.
The robot vehicles, made by the well-funded autonomous driving startup, Nuro, are entirely self-driving and can cart their cargo — in this case Domino’s pizza — via in-unit storage.
Once the robot arrives at its destination, customers must meet the vehicle and use a special pin provided to them upon ordering to unlock the hatch and collect their delivery.
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Domino’s will take the next step in autonomous delivery by partnering with Nuro to deliver pizzas via robot cars.
WHAT IS NURO’S SELF-DRIVING ROBOT?
Silicon Valley-based startup, Nuro, will partner with Domino’s Pizza to deliver in Houston, Texas.
The company’s robot vehicle fleet are about half the size of a regular passenger car and travel about 25 mph.
There is no room for a human driver and cars navigate completely on their own.
For now, the vehicles are still trailed by a human driver in case anything goes wrong.
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.
The R1 is about half the size of a normal car and only travels at speeds of about 25 miles per hour, making them less likely to hurt pedestrians or other vehicles in the event of an accident.
Since there isn’t any room for human passengers, Nuro’s cars are also capable of stopping on a dime risking a little cargo damage as opposed to serious injury.
The partnership marks a big step for the prospect of autonomously delivered goods in the US and a boon for Nuro which raised $940 million from SoftBank in February.
The company also recently announced a partnership with grocery chain, Kroger, to pilot its delivery service in Arizona.
While Nuro has only built about six of its vehicles as of February, a partnership with Domino’s, one of the biggest chains in the US, will likely help to further incentivize production.
Domino’s delivers about 3 million pizzas per day and has 16,000 stores across the country.
Domino’s pizza has been known for its use of technology to streamline its processes in the past, using AI to scan pizzas for ideal topping quantity and in 2016 being the first commercial food company to deliver a pizza by drone.
Nuro won’t be alone in its endeavor to take over commercial deliveries. Chinese company, Neolix, will ramp up production of its robotic caravan this year.
Though Nuro’s robot vehicles will be driving all by themselves, they will still continue to be monitored by a human tag-a-long, who will drive behind the vehicles to monitor their passage in case things go awry.
Nuro won’t be without competition in its efforts to overtake the robotic delivery space.
In May, a startup in China, Neolix, became the first company in the world to begin mass-producing self-driving delivery vehicles for some of the country’s biggest commerce giants.
The company has begun production on 1,000 level four autonomous vehicles that it plans to roll out in China throughout the next year.
The tiny vans, which are essentially four-wheeled robots outfitted with trunks for storage, are capable of navigating their environment without any human pilot and have already garnered interest from two of China’s biggest retailers: Huawei and JD.com.
Its factory reportedly has a capacity of about 30,000 vehicles per year with a price tag of about $30,000 each.