Pizza News

Will FedEx Be the Next Big Player in Pizza Delivery?

Delivery bots are on a roll, as FedEx announced it will be testing the technology in several markets, including the company’s hometown of Memphis.

Pizza will be among the many items that can be delivered by the bots, along with groceries, medicines and pretty much anything else that will fit in the bots’ compartments.

A company press release describes the FedEx Same Day Bot as “an autonomous delivery device designed to help retailers make same-day and last-mile deliveries to their customers." In addition to Memphis, the Dallas News reports, the bots will run routes in Plano and Frisco, Texas, and Manchester, New Hampshire.

Related: As robotics improve, how will they affect the pizza biz?

FedEx will collaborate with companies like Pizza Hut, AutoZone, Lowes, Target, Walgreens and Walmart to assess their delivery needs. “On average, more than 60 percent of merchants’ customers live within three miles of a store location, demonstrating the opportunity for on-demand, hyper-local delivery,” the company says.

The SameDay Bot can run on sidewalks and along roadsides to make deliveries. It uses advanced technologies, including LiDAR and machine-learning algorithms, to avoid and detect obstacles, plot a safe path and avoid contact with pedestrians or vehicle traffic.

“Pizza Hut is constantly exploring new technology-based solutions to advance our delivery business as we look to redefine the modern pizza experience for our customers,” said Nicolas Burquier, Pizza Hut’s chief customer and operations officer. “The opportunity to work with a proven innovator in the delivery space like FedEx allows us the opportunity to leverage cutting-edge technology to further optimize our best-in-class delivery experience.”

FedEx is hardly a pioneer in the delivery-bot sector. In a partnership with tech company Starship Technologies, DoorDash and Postmates have been testing the bots in Redwood City, California, and Washington, D.C. respectively. Meanwhile, students at George Mason University have been receiving food deliveries—including pizza, coffee and donuts—via robots (pictured above) since January courtesy of hospitality company Sodexo.

Related: Domino's Australia is testing a pizza delivery robot