The Autonomist

Domino’s trials autonomous pizza delivery

The world’s largest pizza company, Domino’s, has unveiled plans to deliver pizza autonomously using the Nuro self-driving delivery service.

The first trials will begin in Houston, Texas, where Nuro has been delivering groceries as part of its partnership with Kroger, America’s largest grocery retailer.

The tests will use Nuro’s proprietary R1 electric mini delivery vehicle, which – at just 1.8 metres tall and weighing in at 680 kilogram – is designed to carry only cargo, with space for around 40 large pizzas.

Unlike other delivery bots such as Amazon’s Scout and Kiwi Campus, which are designed mainly for the pavement, the R1 uses the road network.

A family collects groceries from a robot in a sunny street

Customers order their food via their smartphones on a Domino’s-branded Nuro app, which alerts them to the R1’s arrival. They must then use the app to open the compartments and remove their delivery.

Nuro – founded by former Waymo robotics engineers Dave Ferguson and Jiajun Zhu in 2016 – started it first pilot in 2018 in Scottsdale, Arizona at a Fry's Food and Drug store. Initially, self-driving Toyota Prius cars were used for the pilot.

Nuro described its partnership with Domino’s as an ‘important step on our journey to become the autonomous delivery partner of choice for retailers of all kinds’.

Domino’s is the global leader in pizza delivery, selling three million pizzas a day from over 16,000 stores worldwide.

By Ray Molony, Technology Editor

19 June 2019