Want your pizza to be delivered via droid?
The government and Domino’s are currently working to test out DRU (Domino’s Robotic Unit), an autonomous pizza delivery unit.
Domino’s says that the four-wheeled prototype was built with “sleek, refined forms combined with a friendly persona,” and has separate compartments to keep pizza hot and drinks cold.
According to Transport Minister Simon Bridges, New Zealand was one of the first countries in the world considered for testing DRU.
“DRU is an early prototype, but the fact that New Zealand is being considered as a test site shows we have the right settings to attract innovation,” Bridges said. “If successful, this driverless vehicle trial could open the door to many more commercial opportunities.”
According to the pizza company, DRU will be able to select the best path to the destination with its on-board sensors, which will also allow it to avoid obstacles encountered along the way.
Domino’s is aware of risks like vandalism and theft, so it’s working on security alarms for protection.
Domino’s CEO and Managing Director Don Meij said that they have already done trials in Brisbane. Working with a special permit granted by the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, the DRU reportedly performed a number of successful deliveries in restricted streets.
“This highlights what can happen when disruptive thinking is fostered — it turns into a commercially viable and revolutionary product,” Meij said.
It could take years before customers can receive their pizzas from a robot, but Domino’s NZ general manager Scott Bush told reporters that it is “not a gimmick – it’s reality.”
“It’s like most things: you look back at the original prototype of anything that ends up being successful, and you think wow, haven’t we come a long away? I don’t doubt that this will be any different,” Bush added.