Domino’s, Nuro to start autonomous pizza deliveries in Houston – TechCrunch

by akoloy

Starting this week, some Domino’s clients in Houston can have a pizza delivered with out ever interacting with a human.

The pizza supply large mentioned Monday it has partnered with autonomous supply automobile startup Nuro to permit choose clients to have their pizzas dropped at their door through Nuro’s R2 robotic.

“There is still so much for our brand to learn about the autonomous delivery space,” Dennis Maloney, Domino’s senior vice chairman and chief innovation officer mentioned in an announcement. “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.”

On sure days and instances, clients ordering from the Woodland Heights retailer on the Domino’s web site can request R2, which makes use of radar, 360-degree cameras and thermal imaging to direct its motion. They’ll get texts to allow them to know the place the robotic is and what PIN they’ll have to entry their pizza through the bot’s touchscreen.

Over the course of the pandemic, the contactless, autonomous meals supply business has accelerated shortly, and Nuro is at present poised to turn into a pacesetter on this house.

“Nuro’s mission is to better everyday life through robotics,” Dave Ferguson, Nuro co-founder and president, mentioned in an announcement. “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.”

This is the primary time meals can be delivered by an electrical, self-driving, occupant-less automobile on the roads in Houston. Woodland Heights, which is especially residential, is among the oldest historic neighborhoods in Houston, flanked by the I-45 and I-10 highways. The Domino’s there may be proper on Houston Avenue, a important thoroughfare, making this a considerably difficult house through which to pilot this know-how.

Nuro initially announced the Domino’s partnership and began testing in Houston in 2019. That identical yr, the corporate started deploying its automobiles to move Kroger groceries in Houston and Phoenix. At the top of 2020, it was approved to begin testing on public roads in California, delivering items from companions like Walmart and CVS. Nuro is the primary firm to be granted regulatory approval by the U.S. Department of Transportation for a self-driving automobile exemption.

Domino’s seems to be Nuro’s first massive foray into restaurant supply, nevertheless it actually gained’t be the final. The firm simply introduced its $500 million Series C spherical, funded partially by Chipotle. Woven Capital, the funding arm of Toyota’s innovation-focused subsidiary Woven Planet, additionally invested, kicking off the fund’s portfolio.

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