In Houston, Domino’s Road Tests Nuro’s R2 Robot For Pizza Delivery

Domino's Pizza

Domino’s is testing out robotic pizza delivery in Houston this week using Nuro’s “completely autonomous, occupantless on-road delivery vehicle,” according to a Monday (April 12) press release.

In the release, Nuro said R2 is the first such delivery vehicle with regulatory approval from  the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The companies said the service is available to “select customers who place a prepaid order … on certain days and times from Domino’s in Woodland Heights.” These customers can then choose to have the robot deliver their pizza.

“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. Customers may also track the vehicle via GPS on their order confirmation page.

“Once R2 arrives, customers will be prompted to enter their PIN on the bot’s touchscreen. R2’s doors will then gently open upward, revealing the customer’s hot Domino’s order,” per the announcement.

Nuro Co-Founder and President Dave Ferguson  said his company “can’t wait to see” what customers think. “For the first time,” he added, the company is “launching real world, autonomous deliveries with R2 and Domino’s.”

“There is still so much for our brand to learn about the autonomous delivery space,” said Dennis Maloney, Domino’s senior vice president and chief innovation officer. “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 new service comes as pizza sales rise during the pandemic. In fact, pizza has in large measure become the pandemic’s official takeout food.

Other companies are eyeing such delivery vehicles as R2. For its part, Chipotle Mexican Grill announced last month (March 25) that it had invested in Nuro. Last year, Chipotle’s digital business grew by more than 174 percent, with half of those sales coming for deliveries.