Two savvy automation startups are forging ahead on the promise of fully automated pizza deliveries.

Serve, the robotic delivery company that was spun off from Postmates, and robotic artisanal pizza purveyor Piestro announced a new partnership.

Under the agreement, upcoming Piestro pods will alert Serve to find the nearest available robot for pickup. According to Piestro CEO Massimo Noja De Marco, it will be a significant speed boost compared to traditional delivery.

“Because Piestro’s scheduling system will automatically notify Serve’s fleet for the nearest available robot in Serve-enabled areas, we anticipate this integration to increase both time- and cost-efficiency,” said De Marco.

While it might sound like a pie-in-the-sky idea, not a pie on the sidewalk, De Marco has some experience here. He’s on the board of directors at Miso Robotics, he cofounded Kitchen United and he’s had his hand in more than a few other robotic and delivery startups. He said he’s eager to forge another partnership with robotic delivery.

“We couldn’t be more excited to partner with Serve Robotics to offer our customers the convenience and delight of robotic delivery,” De Marco said. “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.”

Piestro previously announced a similar partnership with Kiwibot. He noted when discussing that deal back in 2020, it was very exciting to an Italian pizza aficionado because it meant a pizza spends much less time in a box. With some basic timing, the Piestro pod won’t start cooking until a delivery bot is nearby.

He noted back then, and wasn’t quite ready to offer details now, that there is a bit of work to be done to figure out the handoff. The Serve robots don’t have hands, and the pod is not staffed, so some sort of mechanical handoff is in the works.

“Piestro and Serve have entered into an R&D partnership focused on achieving seamless integration of their robots for end-to-end automation from ordering to delivery. We look forward to sharing more in the months ahead,” said De Marco.

He said smart engineers, plenty of venture capital (Piestro is a part of the Wavemaker Labs, an investor in disruptive technology) and a rapid shift in consumer expectations brings something as futuristic as a robo-pizza being delivered by a drone within reach. But the details are not quite there.

According to the announcement, Serve’s robots fit up to four Piestro pizzas and can complete deliveries in under 15 minutes. Once the robot arrives at its destination, customers can retrieve their pizzas from the machine with a secure passcode. Serve’s autonomous sidewalk robots navigate safely alongside pedestrians, with remote supervision when needed.

There is some time to figure out the details. Piestro has plans to deploy its first commercial units in 2023. The company anticipates these will operate in at least one Serve-enabled market at launch.