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According to global sales, Dominos is the biggest pizza chain in the entire world. With all that success they are required to innovate to stay ahead of the curve, in their latest venture they have formed a team with a company called (Autonomous Vehicle Start Up ) Nuro, which provide the self driving part to the pizza delivery car. Currently a small number of US addresses will be presented with the option to have their pizzas delivered by a Nuro R2 car, a fully autonomous vehicle with nobody operating it.
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The customers who use the Nuro self driving delivery bot have to pay for their meal in advanced online, then they may select the option to have the food delivered by a Nuro vehicle. If selected the self driving vehicle will send text messages regarding its location and once it arrives the customer may enter a provided PIN code to unlock the contents of the Nuro. Dominos say they have a lot to learn still when it comes how customers interact and respond to deliveries, especially with the robot, so you can sure they’re monitoring their data very carefully to try and improve the service to the best possible version it can be.
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The program began in 2019, but due to the current circumstances and the pandemic it has taken much longer than expected to roll the program out to its fullest potential, initially assuming the program would be ready in months, we now sit years later and we’re far from having Nuro bots being a common sight, especially outside of Houston in the US. Dominos is no stranger to autonomous delivery vehicles though, before partnering with Nuro, Dominos had a brief partnership with Ford, and a different type of autonomous vehicle that still required a human occupant to be present in the vehicle. Four years before that, Dominos was experimenting with using Drone Deliveries. Either way there’s a very good possibility that Domnios will continue to double down on this technology.
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The technology is still experimental and expensive at this stage, but in the long term it will save the company money in staff costs. On the flip side of that discussion it will be cutting out jobs and it could hurt the economy. Dominos claims it has a shortage of drivers and that’s one of the reasons to push this idea forwards. So far autonomous vehicles still require a human present behind the wheel so there won’t be much savings, nor does the excuse that there aren’t enough drivers hold any water.
Once we are able to trust autonomous driving to the point where cars drive themselves without the need of human supervision we image a lot of business that use delivery drivers will employ similar tactics which could leave a huge chunk of people jobless. The burning questions consumers have been wondering about is if the transition to staff-less deliveries will reflect in the price of products and delivery fees. If the companies are making savings with the investment into autonomous deliveries then consumers are hopeful the savings could be passed onto them. The investment to go autonomous will be expensive so it likely wouldn’t be beneficial in the immediate future but as autonomous deliveries becomes mainstream and companies compete with one another over market share, then there’s a possibility we get to enjoy the savings being passed down to the consumer level.
If you’d like to learn more you can follow Dominos roadmap and explainer of the Nuro R2 system here: https://selfdrivingdelivery.dominos.com/en