While Amazon is still working on using drones to deliver parcels, pizza seller Domino’s in Australia proposed to deliver pizza autonomously on solid ground. Described as a “ground-breaking, world-first initiative,” the autonomous delivery vehicle called DRU, short for Domino’s Robotic Unit, was the brainchild of Domino’s DLAB and is powered by Australia startup Marathon Robotics (T/A Marathon Targets). The basic idea is simple: you order the pizza(s), it get processed and dropped into a purposed built compartments in the DRU that will keep the pizza hot and cold drinks cold as it autonomously navigate to your home.
The four-wheeled droid, as Domino refers as, will travel on footpath and as it does that, onboard computer selects the best route to the destination, while onboard sensors help it avoid obstacles. Domino’s Group CEO and Managing Director, Don Meij explains:
“It allows Domino’s to explore new concepts and push the boundaries of what is possible for our customers. The DRU prototype is only the first step in our research and development as we continue to develop a range of innovations set to revolutionise the entire pizza ordering experience.”
The company also adds that it has been working with local Government agencies to ensure the autonomous delivery system meets all legal requirements. In fact, DRU was involved “in a number of customer deliveries in restricted streets identified by the Department under special permit.” The test unit did not go on full autonomous mode though, as the company wants to ensure it complies with current regulation. The plan is to integrated DRU to bolster the pizza outfit’s delivery teams in several markets under Domino’s Pizza Enterprises Limited and that will include countries like Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, France, The Netherlands, Japan and Germany.
Once the technicalities and legalities are ironed out, those countries would be the first in the first in the world to experience deliveries by commercial robot. Though there is not timeline given which means there’s no telling when the system will see fruition. And if eventually it does get implemented, we foresee to hear grumblings over how robots are taking our jobs in near future and union for pizza delivery, if there’s such a thing, will sure make a hell of a ding at the prospect of job loss. So what do you think? Are you excited about the future of autonomous delivery by robots?