Robots may play a far greater role in our daily lives than they do even currently but as long as there is a pizza around the corner, all ought to be well right? And there may indeed be a pizza with Domino's recently bringing its fleet of autonomous robotic vehicles into real-world tests - tasked with delivering pre-paid orders to customers in a neighborhood in Texas' Houston.
Nuro R2 robot vehicles have been tasked to safely and quickly deliver piping hot pizzas to customers in Houston's Woodland Heights locality. Domino's states that customers are provided with a text message containing a PIN. He or she can track the location of the robot using GPS. Once the vehicle reaches the intended address, all one has to do is to enter the PIN which will open the vehicle's doors upwards, revealing the scrumptious treat inside.
Nuro R2 has received approval from the country's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and is the first autonomous, occupant-less on-road vehicle to be permitted on public roads. It has a top speed of around 40 kmph and is powered by a 31 kWh battery pack. Armed with multiple cameras, radar, sensors and even a microphone to detect emergency vehicles in close vicinity, the self-drive, driver-less vehicle could well usher in a new dawn in transportation.
But even Domino's admits that these are just trials. "There is still so much for our brand to learn about the autonomous delivery space," said Dennis Maloney, Senior Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer at Domino's. "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 also adds that a rising demand for pizzas has created a greater need for prompt deliveries and this is where autonomous vehicles could potentially play a bigger rol