The Fuse

This Week in AVs: Domino’s to Start Autonomous Pizza Deliveries; Airbus Pushes for Autonomous Planes; and More

by Stefan Broekhuizen | June 24, 2019

Domino’s will start delivering pizzas via an autonomous robot this fall
Domino’s and self-driving car startup Nuro announced a partnership Monday under which Nuro’s electric R2X AV will begin delivering Domino’s pizzas this fall in Houston. Operations will begin at one Domino’s location, delivering to customers who order online. Nuro has been operating in Houston since March, working with retail chain Kroger to deliver groceries autonomously. Its vehicle is designed specifically for transporting goods locally and lacks space for a human driver. Domino’s partnership with Nuro highlights the increasingly diverse applications of AV technology: beyond human transport, trucks are using autonomous technology to move freight and commercial airliners and startups are testing autonomous aircraft.

Airbus is ready for autonomous planes; are you?
At the Paris Air Show this week, Airbus chief salesman Christian Scherer told The Associated Press that the European aerospace corporation already has the necessary technology to fly autonomous passenger planes; Airbus is working on convincing regulators and consumers to embrace pilotless operation. Scherer also informed the AP that Airbus hopes to sell hybrid or electric passenger jets by 2035. Airbus’s announcement is the latest in the field of autonomous aircraft. In May, the company released images of Vahana, its planned autonomous electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) air-taxi. German startup Volocopter plans to test its own eVTOLs in Singapore in the second half of 2019.

Volvo teams up with Nvidia to develop self-driving commercial and industrial trucks
Volvo is partnering with Nvidia to create self-driving commercial and industrial trucks. Volvo will use the NVIDIA DRIVE end-to-end autonomous driving platform in its autonomous vehicles, with a wide array of purposes in mind: beyond transporting freight, Volvo and Nvidia aim to build vehicles for use in construction, mining, forestry, garbage and recycling collection, and public transport. Cooperative engineering teams from both companies will locate in Gothenburg, Sweden, and Silicon Valley. Volvo launched testing of its electric autonomous truck, named Vera, this month. For now, Vera moves goods from a logistics center to a port terminal in Gothenburg. German logistics company DB Schenker launched similar testing last November, using Swedish start-up Einride’s electric, self-driving trucks to transport freight from a warehouse to a terminal in Jönköping. Einride’s AVs also use Nvidia technology.