Robot pizza delivery is here, at least for a limited few. Domino's Pizza is testing a service that allows customers in Houston's Woodland Heights neighborhood to have their pizza delivered by autonomous vehicles created by robotics company Nuro. These were the first completely autonomous vehicles approved by the Department of Transportation for on-road delivery last year, per CNN. Beginning this week, customers who place a prepaid order at certain times from a certain location can choose the robot delivery option, per CNBC. They'll then receive text message updates on a vehicle's location before it arrives. They will also receive a code to be entered on the vehicle’s touchscreen upon arrival. This allows the vehicle’s doors to open so the order can be retrieved.
It's unclear whether there are plans to expand the test, which has no end date at present. Domino's senior vice president and chief innovation officer, Dennis Maloney, says the company still has a lot to learn "about the autonomous delivery space," per CNN. But "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," he adds. Domino’s—whose shares have risen 13% in the last year—tested drone pizza delivery in the United Kingdom in 2013 and delivery via self-driving car in Ann Arbor, Mich., in 2017. It announced a partnership with California-based Nuro in 2019, but "is still years—or even decades—away from replacing its entire fleet of drivers" with robots, per CNBC. (Read more Domino's Pizza stories.)