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Photo Courtesy of Toyota

Over the course of a year, Americans will devour about three billion pizzas or about 350 slices every second.  That’s a lot of pizza.  And given that pizza is such a huge cornerstone of the American diet, restaurants are always looking for new and innovative way to get the Italian-inspired meal into the hands of hungry people quicker – and, more importantly, hot.  So, in an age where pizza chains are creating delivery vehicles that speed up the process of getting the food to your door, Pizza Hut might have just have a game-changing new vehicle, thanks to Toyota.

This week, at SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) 2018, Toyota introduced the Tundra PIE Pro, a concept hydrogen fuel cell truck that has the ability to cook pizzas in its bed, with a pair of robot arms that can do the work straight down the line.  The arms can actually take pre-made pizza out of a refrigerator, send it through the conveyor oven, cut it on a cutting board and put the finished product into a box for consumption. The entire process takes between six and seven minutes, with both of the arms and the truck operating on hydrogen, so there’s no worry that you’re harming the environment.

Given the difficulty of hydrogen fueling, this form of fuel might raise some questions right now, as outside of California, fueling stations are virtually non-existent.  Keep in mind, there would also need to be a cover for the bed, to protect the production equipment.  But a vehicle like this one could significantly cut the pizza buying process, allowing pizza chains such as Pizza Hut to drive straight to your house and make your order within mere minutes, rather than waiting 45 minutes to an hour, the standard time measurement.

“We are pretty obsessed with improving the customer experience,” Pizza Hut’s chief customer and operations officer, Nicolas Burquier, told Bloomberg.  “The more we can get closer to their homes or the point of delivery, the better and hotter the product will be.”  

While the cost of the Tundra PIE Pro has not been released and no specific target date for the debut of the robotic arms in the truck’s bed, the potential of this vehicle could help us move one step closer to avoiding a Back To The Future style of hydration system, instead eliminating the idea of picking up pizza, or receiving cold pizza – perfect for the younger, instant-gratification, generation.  This new concept vehicle announcement comes right after the pizza chain signed a deal to join Toyota’s mobility alliance which will develop fully autonomous vehicles.  Man, pizza could be pretty awesome in the not too distant future.