Domino's to test autonomous pizza delivery in Houston

Domino's customers in Houston soon won't have to tip their delivery driver anymore.

The pizza chain announced Monday it would deploy a fleet of unmanned vehicles to deliver online orders placed by customers in the Texas city.

The feat is in partnership with robotics company Nuro, which has been running autonomous delivery operations in the Houston metro area since March.

Domino's says they will launch their custom unmanned R2 vehicles in September or October at one location in Houston. It will eventually include more stores.

Customers would place an order online, track the vehicle's location and retrieve their pizza from the vehicle by using a special PIN code to unlock the compartment.

Domino’s and Nuro will test autonomous pizza delivery using the custom unmanned vehicle known as the R2 in Houston. (Domino's Pizza)

"We are always looking for new ways to innovate and evolve the delivery experience for our customers," said Kevin Vasconi, Domino's executive vice president and chief information officer said in a release. "Nuro's vehicles are specially designed to optimize the food delivery experience, which makes them a valuable partner in our autonomous vehicle journey. The opportunity to bring our customers the choice of an unmanned delivery experience, and our operators an additional delivery solution during a busy store rush, is an important part of our autonomous vehicle testing."


Michigan-based Domino's first began testing autonomous delivery in late 2017 in a partnership with Ford Motor Company. But in that case, a safety driver at the wheel. In April 2018, the company launched Domino's HotSpots, which offered delivery to more than 200,000 non-traditional locations including parks and beaches.

Domino's has more than 16,100 stores in more than 85 global markets. The company said it had more than $13.5 billion in global retail sales in 2018, of which nearly $6.6 billion was from sales in the U.S.

Rival Pizza Hut is also testing driverless delivery with Toyota Motor Company.The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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