Domino’s really emphasizes its commitment to “innovation,” but even if it’s a marketing tactic, the global pizza brand does indeed walk the walk. Case in point: It’s launching a new pilot for self-driving pizza delivery in Houston in partnership with Nuro.
Autonomous-driving tech startup Nuro was founded by Dave Ferguson and Jiajun Zhu, two veterans of Google’s self-driving car project (which became Waymo), and now includes a team of self-driving engineers with experience at Waymo, Apple, Uber, GM and Tesla. The company’s ability to book such tremendous talent as a startup probably has a lot to do with the nearly $1 billion investment from SoftBank it announced in February. Or vice versa, I suppose.
Domino’s will make use of Nuro’s fleet of autonomous test vehicles to deliver pizzas to people in Houston who order through their app or online, and the pizzas will be delivered using Nuro’s R2 vehicle, a second generation of its fully autonomous electric test car, which will go into service later this year. Participating will be opt-in, with customers presented the self-driving option at check-out, and they’ll be given a PIN to unlock the doors and get at that sweet, sweet pizza once it rolls up to their delivery address.
This isn’t Domino’s first foray into self-driving pizza, as weird as that sounds: Ford ran a limited pilot with the pizza company in 2017, which was designed as a test to figure out the basics around consumer expectations for interacting with such a service.