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Domino’s testing robot delivery in Houston

Robots are delivering Domino’s pizza in Houston. Through a partnership between Domino’s and robot company Nuro, select customers in the Woodland Heights neighborhood have the option of robot delivery.

“We’re excited to continue innovating the delivery experience for Domino’s customers by testing autonomous delivery with Nuro in Houston,” said Dennis Maloney, Domino’s senior vice president and chief innovation officer. “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.”

Robot delivery is being tested around the country for both restaurant and grocery delivery. The financial feasibility of these projects is unclear and seems somewhat limited in their ability to scale. Domino’s had always focused on delivery and has had a fleet of company delivery drivers since the company was founded. It will be interesting to see if Domino’s can incorporate autonomous delivery into a company built on delivery.

Nuro was founded in 2011 by engineers who were part of Google’s self-driving car project. The company brought a delivery robot to market in 2018 and has raised money through various venture funds, including SoftBank Group. It began making fully autonomous deliveries last year.

Recently, Chipotle invested in Nuro, trying to find alternatives to the third-party delivery apps. Like other restaurants, the company has seen a huge surge in off-premise dining during the pandemic.

“Nuro’s mission is to better everyday life through robotics,” Nuro President Dave Ferguson said. “Now, for the first time, we’re launching real world, autonomous deliveries with R2 and Domino’s. 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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