According to a recent press release, Dominos has revealed another set of pizza delivery drones, this time in Germany and the Netherlands. Last year, it had worked with Flirtey to drop pizza to customers in New Zealand using unmanned aerial vehicles. For this pilot program, however, it chose to use autonomous rovers developed by Starship Technologies, a company built by two of Skype’s founders.
Dominos told EnGadget that launching this program doesn’t mean it has given up on developing its own delivery drones, which it’s been doing for a year now.
Both this pilot and the one in New Zealand come under the auspices of DRU (Domino’s Robotic Unit), the same division that’s developing its homegrown machine. “It’s not a matter of changes,” a Dominos spokesperson told EnGadget, “but running multiple programs to bring technology, that makes ordering faster and simpler, to our customers as quickly as possible.” Domino’s Pizza Enterprises Chief Executive Officer Don Meij also said in a statement that if the company doesn’t add drones to its fleet through initiatives like this, it won’t have enough delivery drivers with its growth plans over the next five to 10 years.
Starship’s autonomous rover is a battery-powered wheeled machine designed to run on sidewalks. It can carry up to 9 kilos of food per delivery, kept inside a small cargo hold. Customers have to unlock that cargo hold with a code sent to their phones to get access to their delivery.
The pilot project will not be available all over the two European countries, it is going to be only open to people living within one to two kilometer radius of hand picked stores in select German and Dutch cities.
Handelsblatt reported that the first robots in Germany will be deployed in Hamburg. When this will happen depends on how quickly local authorities grant permission for such vehicles to be used. Domino’s hopes that this will be within the next two months, Handelsblatt states.
Source: Dominos / Bloomberg / EnGadget
Photo: Dominos Germany press release