A few months back we reported on robotics company Nuro teaming with Kroger to use self-driving vehicles to make deliveries in the Houston area. Now the Mountain View, CA based company is teaming with Domino’s to deliver pizzas to hungry customers. The service will begin this fall and be available to select customers in the Houston metro area.
The ordering process is pretty simple. Customers can sign up for the service and order via the Domino’s app. They can then track the driverless car with their smart phone. When the vehicle arrives, a pin code unlocks a compartment and the customer retrieves their pizza.
Driverless Domino’s Vehicle Will Be Nuro’s R2
The driverless vehicle making the deliveries will be Nuro’s R2 model. It’s completely electric and goes at speeds up to 25 mph. With no seats, steering wheels or room for human occupants, it’s about half the size of a normal car. The company feels that the smaller size allows it to navigate the roads safer and gives more time to react to potential collisions.
“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,” said Kevin Vasconi, Domino’s executive vice president and chief information officer.
Self-Driving Pizza Delivery Will Be Monitored by Humans
While the vehicles are completely autonomous, they will be closely monitored during the pilot program. The R2s will be tracked remotely and also be closely followed by human-driven vehicles in case of an emergency.
Houston is a tough test for self-driving vehicles. It’s a crowded metropolitan area with a lot of vehicles and pedestrians. If Domino’s autonomous delivery program goes well there, we would assume they would expand the program to other cities.