Domino’s Pizza unveils driverless delivery with autonomous car in Houston

Pizza lovers in Houston are going to see a new kind of delivery driver -- a robot.

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Domino’s Pizza announced it is partnering with Nuro to launch autonomous pizza delivery. Customers in Houston’s Woodland Heights neighborhood can choose robot delivery, which will be brought to them by Nuro’s R2 robot in a fully autonomous vehicle, ABC News reported.

Once the vehicle arrives, the customer will enter a PIN number on the bot’s touchscreen, and the car doors then open up to serve the food, CNBC reported. In the Woodlands Heights neighborhood, customers will be required to place a prepaid order on Domino’s website for delivery, Dominos said in a news release.

“Customers who are selected will receive text alerts, which will update them on R2′s location and provide them with a unique PIN to retrieve their order,” Domino’s said in its news release. “Customers may also track the vehicle via GPS on their order confirmation page.”

Nuro’s robot car was the first completely autonomous, human-free on-road delivery vehicle to receive regulatory approval from the U.S. Department of Transportation last year, Domino’s said in its release.

Domino’s has experimented with autonomous deliveries before. In 2013, the company tested pizza delivery via drones in the United Kingdom, CNN reported. Four years later, the company used a self-driving Ford Fusion to deliver pizzas to customers in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

“We’re excited to continue innovating the delivery experience for Domino’s customers by testing autonomous delivery with Nuro in Houston,” Dennis Maloney, Domino’s senior vice president and chief innovation officer, said in a statement. “There is still so much for our brand to learn about the autonomous delivery space. This program will allow us to better understand how customers respond to the deliveries, how they interact with the robot and how it affects store operations. The growing demand for great-tasting pizza creates the need for more deliveries, and we look forward to seeing how autonomous delivery can work along with Domino’s existing delivery experts to better support the customers’ needs.”

Nuro was founded by two former members of Google’s self-driving team, CNBC reported. The pair raised $500 million in its last funding round, the network reported.

“Nuro’s mission is to better everyday life through robotics. Now, for the first time, we’re launching real world, autonomous deliveries with R2 and Domino’s,” Dave Ferguson, Nuro co-founder and president, said in a statement. “We’re excited to introduce our autonomous delivery bots to a select set of Domino’s customers in Houston. We can’t wait to see what they think.”

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