Last year we predicted that 2022 would be the year that AI and robotics took over the quick-serve pizza sector. A new collaboration between a robotic pizzeria and a fleet of delivery robots is the latest example of that prediction coming to life — although it’s limited to one market in the Los Angeles area for now.
Piestro, the developer of an automated pizza vending machine, just announced it is partnering with Serve Robotics, which makes delivery robots, to offer customers contactless end-to-end robotic pizza delivery. Serve’s robots fit up to four piestro pies and deliver them to customers’ doors for a completely touch-free end-to-end transaction. Customers enter a passcode to retrieve their pizza from the delivery robot.
“We couldn’t be more excited to partner with Serve Robotics to offer our customers the convenience and delight of robotic delivery,” said Massimo De Marco, CEO of Piestro. “Robotic delivery is contactless and reliable, with a higher on-time rate than couriers, and will allow our customers to get their pizzas even faster than before — all at the touch of their fingertips.”
In many ways, this is a story about the quick maturation of two automation technologies. Just as we predicted big things for automated pizza back in 2021, we spoke to leading experts about the trajectory of L4 robotic delivery.
“In 2022, we expect to see self-driving commercialized, with sidewalk robots starting to see scaled deployment across major cities,” Ali Kashani, Co-Founder & CEO of Serve Robotics, told us. “After over a decade of R&D, for the first time, we will realize the economic value of autonomous mobility as the marginal cost of robotic delivery falls below the rising labor cost.”
Serve is backed by Uber, 7-Eleven, and Delivery Hero’s corporate venture units.
“Serve’s zero-emission robots are distinguished by their level of autonomy and safety, outperforming vehicle delivery in key metrics like on-time arrival and order completion,” said Kashani. “Combining the reliability of robotic delivery with Piestro’s tasty pizzas is a perfect match. Together, we offer customers a quick, contactless experience that also benefits the environment.”
Piestro, meanwhile, is a crowdfunding success story, joining another quick-serve robot pioneer, Miso Robotics, in demonstrating the appetite for supporting automation among smaller investors.
The next phase for both companies involves broadening the service area. The partnership will roll out in the coming months as Piestro deploys units within Serve’s existing areas of operation in West Hollywood, California.