My fellow staff writer Allison Robicelli typically covers The Takeout’s Robot Patrol. Unfortunately, Robicelli disappeared overnight. She was last seen struggling against two motorized, AI-programmed turtles who kept chanting, “She knows too much! Beep-boop-beep.” Probably nothing to worry about. I’m not at all concerned for my own safety as I hop into the robot beat today with some hot and fresh news from Domino’s: the brand is launching autonomous pizza delivery via robotic vehicle.
Per a press release sent to The Takeout, Domino’s will partner with Nuro, a robotics company, to test the newfangled delivery apparatus. Select customers in the Houston area can have their pizza delivered by Nuro’s R2 robot, described as “the first completely autonomous, occupantless on-road delivery vehicle” that also has regulatory approval from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The program has actually been under way for quite some time; it was first reported back in 2019.
Here’s how it works: if you’re based in the Houston area and order your pizza online from a specific Domino’s location, you may be offered the chance to pilot the robotic delivery program. If you agree, you’ll receive text alerts to update you on the robot’s location. You’ll also receive a unique PIN to retrieve your order. Once the robot arrives, you’ll enter the PIN on the bot’s touchscreen. The brand writes: “R2’s doors will then gently open upward, revealing the customer’s hot Domino’s order.”
Sounds like Domino’s plans to expand the program if all goes well. “We’re excited to continue innovating the delivery experience for Domino’s customers by testing autonomous delivery with Nuro in Houston,” Dennis Maloney, Domino’s senior vice president and chief innovation officer, said in the release. In the case of national domination, I do think it’s important to determine some ground rules. Namely: don’t hit the pizza robot with a bat. Don’t try to climb inside the pizza robot. And, for the love of God, don’t whisper any potentially treacherous or anti-patriotic sentiments near the pizza robot. Anyway, gotta go—just heard a weird metallic thumping on my apartment door! No biggie.