Domino’s Pizza and Flirtey have launched what they say is the first commercial drone delivery service in the world.
The two companies exhibited the first stage of their partnership with a demonstration of pizza delivery by drone in Auckland yesterday.
The demonstration was conducted under Civil Aviation Rules Part 101 and marks a final step in Flirtey’s approval process. Also at the event was the NZ Civil Aviation Authority and transport minister Simon Bridges.
“Research into different delivery methods led us to Flirtey,” says CEO Don Meij, whose company sold $1.964 billion in pizzas last year.
“Their success within the airborne delivery space has been impressive and it’s something we have wanted to offer our customers,” he said.
“What drones allow us to do is to extend that delivery area by removing barriers such as traffic and access, as well as offering a much faster, safer delivery option, which means we can deliver further afield than we currently do to our rural customers while reaching our urban customers in a much more efficient time.”
Trial flights are set to start later this year following when daylight savings starts in New Zealand.
Flirtey CEO Matt Sweeny said New Zealand has the most forward-thinking aviation regulations in the world.
“We are getting closer to the time where you can push a button on your smartphone and have Domino’s delivered by drone to your home,” says Sweeny.
The drones fly autonomously at a height of 60 metres.
The customer is notified as the delivery is approaching and the delivery is made by lowering the package out of the air.
There is an inbuilt cutting mechanism which kicks in if someone tries to pull on the tether. The tether is released and the drone is able to fly away.
The latest Domino’s Robotic Unit (DRU) is more advanced than the robot the company launched in March.
“He was the beginning of our journey in the Artificial Intelligence space and will always have a place in the Domino’s delivery solution,” says Don Meij.
“hHowever, we are committed to bringing new solutions to our business. These new solutions will all be part of our commitment to the DRU family, such as the drones, who will be referred to as DRU DRONE.”
Domino’s is looking at opportunities for drone delivery trials in its six other markets — Australia, Belgium, France, The Netherlands, Japan and Germany.