“Artificial intelligence,” “machine learning,” “highly intelligent automation,” and “flexible robots.”
These aren’t terms that are generally associated with pizza delivery. Unless you live in Mountain View, Calif., that is. The city, where Alphabet (Google’s parent company) is famously headquartered, is also the home of a high-tech pizza company that wants to use artificial intelligence and robotics to disrupt the nearly $10 billion pizza delivery industry. How? By baking the pizza in the delivery van en route to your home.
Co-founded by Alex Garden, the former president of Zynga Studios, and Julia Collins, who comes from a restaurant background, Zume Pizza employs a mix of robots and humans to prepare and bake its pies.
“We have what we call a co-bot environment, so humans and robots working collaboratively,” says Collins. “Robots do everything from dispensing sauce, to spreading sauce, to placing pizzas in the oven.
Each pie is baked in the delivery van, which means “you get something that is pizzeria fresh, hot and sizzling,” says Garden. It’s an important detail; as cool — and cost-saving — as Zume’s robots are, taste matters most.
To date, it seems Zume is doing a pretty good job on this front. The restaurant has four stars on Yelp — compared to the 2-star average of the local Domino’s Pizza.
To see Zume’s pizza-making robots in action, check out the above video.