Domino's, one of the world's largest pizza delivery firms, has been working with Australian company Flirtey on drone-based deliveries for some time. But it's now started bringing pizza direct to paying customers with its autonomous aerial vehicles, in what it says are the first such commercial deliveries anywhere in the world.
Currently, only a select group of customers can get their pizzas delivered by drone in New Zealand, but the two companies say they plan to further expand availability of the unconventional delivery method, offering "increasing scale in the near future".
Flirtey's autonomous drone technology and "complex safety systems" have been combined with special Domino's packaging to ensure that customers can expect their food to arrive safely in urban environments, with drones able to fly through "a variety of weather conditions and flight paths".
Domino's Group CEO and Managing Director Don Mejj said:
We are thrilled with the results of our trials, and look forward to expanding DRU Drone by Flirtey soon.
We invested in this partnership, and technology, because we believe drone delivery will be an essential component of our pizza deliveries, so even more customers can receive the freshest, hottest pizza we can offer.
He added that, in the future, Domino's hopes that "more customers can expect to receive a freshly-made order within our ultimate target of 10 minutes."
The autonomous Flirtey drone itself is made from a range of carbon fiber, aluminum and 3D printed components. The drone lowers the pizza to its delivery destination via a tether, and Flirtey says that it has "built-in safety features such as low-battery return-to-safe-location programming and auto-return-home commands in case of low GPS signal or communication loss."
Domino's is no stranger to exploring the use of technology to improve its operations. Earlier this year, the company showed off a prototype delivery robot based on military technology. A few weeks later, Microsoft revealed the Domino's Pizza Bot as part of its Bot Framework, allowing Domino's customers to order pizza from a digital customer agent.
Source: Domino's / Flirtey (PRNewswire)