Domino’s, thy name is innovation.
Just months after announcing a pizza delivery truck with built-in heaters, the pizza purveyor is upping the ante with the world’s first pizza delivery robot.
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The company’s Australian arm announced plans to deploy a Domino Robotic Unit (DRU). Essentially an autonomous vehicle, DRU can, according to Domino’s, follow a map, navigate sidewalks, avoid obstacles and keep your pizza hot and fresh while delivering it to your front door.
It will even come bearing cold drinks.
While this sounds like an elaborate marketing stunt, a Domino’s spokesperson confirmed to Mashable that the robot is real.
“DRU is cheeky and endearing and we are confident that one day he will become an integral part of the Domino’s family. He’s a road to the future and one that we are very excited about exploring further,” said Domino’s Group CEO and Managing Director Don Meij in a release.
Domino’s reports it has been secretly testing the four-wheeled robot vehicle on the streets of Queensland, Australia, where it acquired the necessary permissions to operate the autonomous vehicle from the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads.
“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,” said Meij in the release.
DRU was built for Domino’s by Australian defense robot company Marathon Robotics, a firm which, up to now, has primarily built autonomous “moving targets” for defense and law enforcement to use in target practice. So if customers start shooting at DRU, it’s probably prepared.
In a brief release on its work for Domino’s, the company notes, “We remain committed to the defense and law enforcement market, and look forward to applying our technology and our near-decade of experience of robots operating in challenging real-world environments to new markets.”
While Domino’s hasn’t said where we’ll see DRU next (it would have to pass regulatory hurdles wherever it operates), Marathon Robotics reports it has unveiled the autonomous pizza truck in Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Japan and Germany.
Two big questions remain: When is it coming to one of the world’s biggest pizza markets, the U.S.A., and — more importantly — when a robot delivers your pizza, do you have to tip it?