There are three large companies that are ‘driving’ the development and roll out of autonomous vehicles: Tesla, Uber and Dominos. While Dominos seems an unlikely organization to be developing ground-breaking driverless tech, this new development joins a long list of clever innovations that Dominos have used to put themselves ahead of their competition. 

After sales plummeted in 2008, Dominos made a concerted effort to predict future trends and  harness technology, in order to make their customer experience as engaging and rewarding as possible. First, Dominos introduced their pizza tracker. Dom, the Dominos digital assistant, reassured customers that their pizza was en route, addressing a common customer complaint – not knowing when your food will arrive. 

Next, they evolved Dom into an advanced chat bot, allowing customers to order through the app using text or voice. Some argued that this was a very expensive way of ‘reinventing the phone call’ but it led to the development of Dominos AnyWay, an innovative ordering platform that allows customers to order through Apple TV, Google Home, Amazon Echo, Ford Sync, SMS, Samsung Smart TVs, smartwatches, an in-app voice assistant, and other emerging platforms, as well as via Tweets, Slack, and Facebook messenger. 

In 2018, they announced that they were working with Ford to develop driverless delivery cars. They released a prototype of a vehicle that was autonomous, but required a sit in back up driver. Talk on this project has since gone quiet, with attention shifting toward their latest, and greatest, offering… 

Dominos have teamed up with Houston based, Nuro – the robotics startup founded by Google veterans – to create specially designed pizza delivery robots, called R1. Dominos have called R1 an important step in their development of autonomous vehicles, as it travels on off-road routes, at up to 25mph, ensuring that people get their pizza quickly even during peak traffic times. Dominos hopes that this will stop them from losing business to same-store competition services, such as UberEats and DoorDrop. 

The robots are still being developed, and currently run all of their deliveries with a ‘chaser car’ following, but Nuro and Dominos hope to phase this out over time. R1 is also about half the size of a normal car, marking it more efficient, and safer. Since they are driverless, they are also able to brake to a complete stop, very quickly. All of these factors suggest that R1 could be the future of take out delivery. 

Dominos’ approach to innovation and customer experience has led to them edging out their long term rival, Pizza Hut, to become the global leader in pizza delivery, selling 3 million pizzas per day, from over 16,000 stores worldwide. 

This approach to innovation is crucial for business success. All over the world, organizations are making their services faster, more reliable and consumer driven. It starts with addressing the critical failing of an organization through the use of innovative tech. While Dominos have invested a significant amount of money into harnessing tech to address their shortcomings, this can still be done on a budget. 

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