While Amazon continues to experiment with the idea of delivering packages by drones, fast-food giant Domino’s is beginning to make history all its own by delivering pizzas using robots.
New Zealand first
Backed by the New Zealand government, the company will use the high-tech, driverless units as a world first. Working with local authorities, Domino’s is looking forward to rolling out its DRUs (Domino's Robotic Units).
Delivering pizzas hot and ready-to-eat
Developed in Australia and designed to operate on both roads and footpaths, the units are just under three-feet high and contain a heated compartment that holds up to 10 pizzas. The four-wheeler incorporates Global Satellite Positioning (GPS) technology to deliver pizzas that are hot and ready-to-eat within a 12.5-mile (about 20 kilometer) radius.
Using battery power and on-board sensors
DRUs are battery powered and use on-board sensors to avoid obstacles. Moreover, Domino's believes it can deliver its full cargo of pizzas, without needing to return to the store to recharge.
A code will unlock the pizza compartment
When they order, customers will be given a code which they will enter onto a keypad to unlock the compartment containing their pizza. (We guess they will be on the honor system to take only their own pizza.)
DRU is “cheeky and endearing”
New Zealand general manager Scott Bush describes their new DRU as “cheeky and endearing” and is certain that one day he will become a valued member of the Domino’s family. "He's a road to the future and one that we are very excited about exploring further," adds Bush.
No firm date yet
While a firm date for the trial is yet to be set, the government of New Zealand, and notably its Transport Minister Simon Bridges have been working together.
over the last 12 months to make it happen. In fact, it was Bridges who “actively and aggressively” promoted New Zealand as Domino’s test site, though New Zealand is still working on regulations relating to driverless vehicles such as the DRU.
The future is here today
Though it may create a job for a robotic technician, DRU solves a major issue for Domino’s: finding reliable pizza delivery staff. DRU will not call in sick or have any of the other issues humans do. Automation---replacing people with robots---is already happening.
Expect the wave of replacements to grow exponentially, once it gets going. In the near term, we’re looking a full-employment for robotics technicians---that is, until the robots can start fixing themselves.
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