Dominos will begin shipping pizza with self-propelled robots in Houston later this year, the company said Monday. The company will use delivery vehicles from Silicon Valley startup Nuro.
"Nuros' vehicles have been specifically designed to optimize food delivery, making them a valuable partner for our autonomous vehicle voyage," said Kevin Vasconi of Domino in a Press "The opportunity to offer our customers the choice of an unmanned delivery experience and Providing our carriers with an additional delivery solution during a busy store is an important part of our autonomous vehicle testing. "
The deal is a coup for Nuro, who raised $ 940 billion in February and is already delivering groceries to Kroger in the Houston area. Pizza delivery is one of the most common applications for last-mile deliveries, and Domino's is one of the largest companies in the industry delivering about 3 million pizzas per day. This is a lot of potential business for Nuro when the Houston process is successful.
"Selected customers ordering online at one of the participating Domino stores have the ability to use Nuro's autonomous delivery," the press release said. "Once they sign up, customers can track the vehicle through the Domino app and receive a unique PIN code to unlock the slot to get their pizza."
Nuro's Custom Vehicle Optimized for Deliveries
Most Companies The development of self-driving technologies focused on either autonomous cars or long-distance trucks. Nuro and competitors like Udelv and Robomart have instead focused on delivering products on the last mile.
Nuro has a purpose-built delivery vehicle called R1
The small size offers safety advantages. The vehicle occupies only about half of the lane width so that Nuro can dodge when a child or a pet shoots at the street. It is much lighter than a conventional car and reduces the likelihood of serious injury when it hits someone.
Nuro does not have to worry about his cargo being disturbed by a slow ride, so his cars stay at low speeds – currently less than 40 km / h – to minimize the likelihood of a major accident. Nuro's vehicles do not have to worry about the comfort of the passengers and can brake the moment they encounter a situation they do not fully understand.
Most self-propelled companies are trying to work the problem by geofencing the areas where their vehicles are driving. This is awkward for a taxi service, as human passengers often wish to travel outside any geographic boundary. However, for last mile delivery services this is a matter of course as these services always work in a limited area around a physical store or warehouse.
Although no one is in the vehicle, Nuro still has every delivery vehicle a human-powered car. Inside, an operator oversees the delivery vehicle and can take it over immediately if something goes wrong. Dave Ferguson, CEO of Nuro, told me in February that the company had hoped to halt the use of the chases by the second quarter of 2019 – a move that would be required to rapidly scale the business. However, a Nuro spokesman told me today that the company will "continue to chase" for the time being.