Nuro which is the self-driving pizza delivery startup is partnering up with dominos to launch a pilot for driverless pizza delivery in Houston, Texas, the companies announced on Monday. Initiating the project later this year, Dominos will use Nuro driverless fleet of custom-built robot cars to deliver pizza to select Houston residents who place orders online.
Nuro is the Autonomous driving tech startup, founded by the two veterans of Google’s self-driving car project Dave Ferguson and Jiajun Zhu. The team has been using its fleet of R1 robot cars to deliver groceries to residents of Scottsdale and Arizona previously. The team preferably includes self-driving engineers with experience at Waymo, Apple, Uber, GM, and Tesla. If the pilot goes well with Domino’s then surely the company will look into other markets to expand its project.
Nuro’s has been expanding its activities since they have received the $1 billion investment from Japanese tech company SoftBank. The funding part was a huge vote of confidence for one of the lesser known startups working on self-driving technology. The company formed in 2016 and since then the company was more focused on food delivery rather than working for the transportation of people.
Plus Nuro is one of the few companies which are able to operate fully driverless pizza delivery vehicles on the road. Its R1 vehicle that is gonna be used for delivering pizza is about half as wide as a compact sedan, shorter than most cars, and it has no room inside for human passengers or drivers. However, the company has built six of these vehicles and planning to use the cash infusion from SoftBank to manufacture more. Nuro is also increasing its test fleet of standard cars fitted with self-driving hardware and software to about 50. It will operate on public roads in California, Arizona, and Texas with safety drivers behind the wheel.
The R1 might not have any space for human but the vehicles are not left unmonitored. The company is using a chase vehicle, human drivers and remote technology to monitor each driverless vehicle as it makes its deliveries. Although Nuro is not the only company to team up with domino’s, The pizza company has previously worked with Ford to test self-driving pizza delivery cars in Michigan in 2017.
The pilot ended shortly after it landed in the market because it only wanted to check the response of people to stepping out of their homes to fetch pizza from a locked warming chamber in the vehicle. Robot cars are just one-way delivery service and food take out specifically. Recently reported that uber plans to start delivering fast food by drone in San Diego this summer.