Domino's is launching autonomous pizza delivery with a tiny self-driving car

Nuro x Domino's Image 2
  • Domino's is delivering pizzas in Houston in an autonomous robot.

  • Nuro, the robotics company, is also partnered with CVS, Walmart, and Chipotle.

  • Delivery has been huge for restaurants during the pandemic, and chains like Domino's surged ahead.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Domino's will start delivering pizzas with autonomous self-driving robots from Nuro, the companies announced.

The program will be available to certain customers in Houston, Texas using Nuro's R2, the first autonomous on-road delivery vehicle approved by the US Department of Transportation.

Customers can order pizza online and opt to receive their delivery through Nuro. Then, they'll get texts with information about the vehicle's location and a PIN to enter on the touchscreen and get their pizza.

Read more: Chipotle's chief technology officer reveals the chain's strategy for deploying Nuro's autonomous vehicles for burrito-bowl deliveries and more

Domino's senior vice president and chief innovation officer Dennis Maloney says Nuro is part of the evolution of delivery.

"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," Maloney said in a statement. "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."

Nuro x Domino's Image 1

Pizza and wings were hailed as early winners in the pandemic as Americans increasingly ordered from brands that were already set up to accommodate delivery, like Papa John's and Wingstop. Domino's added over 600 new stores in 2020, overall sales were up 10.4% for the year. Meanwhile, the rest of the industry saw huge losses, up to $30 billion in March 2020 and $50 billion in April 2020.

Sales via delivery, curbside pickup, and drive-thrus all exploded for restaurants during the pandemic as indoor dining closed and consumers avoided shopping inside restaurants and grocery stores.

California-based Nuro is using this delivery push as a chance to expand. So far, the company has partnered with Walmart, CVS, Kroger, and Chipotle.

"Nuro's mission is to better everyday life through robotics. Now, for the first time, we're launching real world, autonomous deliveries with R2 and Domino's," co-founder and president Dave Ferguson said in a statement.

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