Domino’s is taking pizza delivery to the next level by introducing the world’s first pizza delivery robot in Australia. ‘Domino’s Robotic Unit’ (DRU) is a three-foot tall, 450-pound robot that can self-drive at 12.4 miles an hour from a Domino’s to any location within a 20-kilometer radius.
The robotic unit consists of a battery-powered heated compartment that can keep up to 10 pizzas warm, and a chilled compartment for cold drinks. The water-tight, weather-proof acrylic plastic exterior and aluminum and mild steel interior will keep food safe, while LIDAR laser-light sensors located within the unit will help the robot detect obstacles on his route. To prevent thefts, customers can only access their pizzas by entering a unique code into the pizza compartment. DRU can drive on roads as well as pavements, and is programmed to promptly return to the store for recharging after all deliveries are complete.
The robot apparently has a ‘personality’ as well. “DRU is cheeky and endearing and we are confident that one day he will become an integral part of the Domino’s family,” said Domino’s Group CEO and MD Don Meji, in a press release. “He’s a road to the future and one that we are very excited about exploring further.”
Since driverless vehicle regulations are still unclear in many parts of Australia and New Zealand, Domino’s is working closely with the government to schedule an official launch date. In the meantime, they have been testing the robot on approved pathways all over Queensland, where they do have the necessary permissions. “The DRU prototype is only the first step in our research and development as we continue to develop a range of innovations set to revolutionize the entire pizza-ordering experience,” Meji said.
The international pizza chain is well known for its constant innovations – right from a pizza delivery truck with built-in heaters, to an ‘easy order’ button that can be pressed instead of having to dial a number. But the DRU might prove to be a game changer, if it does indeed take off. Interestingly, the unit was designed and built by Marathon Robotics, a defense robot company that primarily makes robotic moving targets to be used in target practice. So if the DRU is ever shot at, you can be rest assured that your pizza will be probably safe!
This all sounds like an elaborate marketing scheme to promote the Domino’s brand, but Mashable claims that the company has confirmed its DRU is very real and will be using its Google Maps- and GPS-powered guidance system to make pizza deliveries in the near future.
Photos: Domino’s Pizza