​Domino's claims world-first pizza drone delivery

The pizza giant has successfully performed the first commercial delivery of food by drone in New Zealand.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

Domino's has on Wednesday successfully completed the delivery of a pizza to a customer in New Zealand, using a drone as its mode of transport.

The unmanned aerial vehicle, DRU Drone by Flirtey, was autonomously controlled using GPS navigation, delivered to the yard of a residence in Whangaparaoa, 25km north of Auckland.

Image: Supplied

Domino's Group CEO and managing director Don Meij said he believes drone delivery will be an essential component of the organisation's pizza delivery process.

"We will be conducting more delivery flights to customers from the Whangaparaoa store this week, and will use the information we gather to expand drone flights to a larger DRU Drone by Flirtey delivery area next year," Meij said.

"We expect DRU Drone by Flirtey to be an essential addition to our delivery fleet."

Flirtey received a Part 102 Unmanned Aircraft Operators Certificate from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) before the delivery was conducted.

The successful delivery comes three months after the companies announced their partnership and their intention to deliver pizza by drone.

According to Domino's, the successful delivery followed a number of operational and product trials, which included food temperature testing and consultation with government.

Flirtey and Domino's previously conducted trials under Civil Aviation Rules Part 101 and marked a final step in Flirtey's approval process.

Earlier this year, Domino's unveiled the first commercial autonomous delivery vehicle, the Domino's Robotic Unit, known as DRU.

Capable of driving at only 18 to 20 kilometres per hour, DRU uses Google Map data and data obtained by Domino's GPS tracking technology to manipulate bridges, footpaths, and even rubbish bins placed on the curb.

Weighing in at just under 190kg, DRU has a custom-built hot and cold food compartment and upon receiving a delivery, the customer inputs a code provided to them by Domino's, which opens the top hatch of the unit.

DRU was born out of Domino's innovation lab, DLAB, with help from local startup Marathon Robotics. Located at Domino's headquarters in Brisbane, DLAB is a startup incubator, designed to attract a dynamic range of entrepreneurs from food science through to digital technology.

Meij said Thursday that the use of delivery drones is expected to work alongside the company's current delivery fleet -- and DRU -- and will be fully integrated into existing online ordering and GPS systems.

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