The future has the potential to change all jobs, and pizza delivery could well be the next one to go.
There’s no doubting that pizza is one of the most universally loved foods, somewhere near chocolate and tea, and with over three billion pizzas sold in the US alone each year, it’s safe to say that the pizza is one of those things we love.
In Australia, pizza makes restaurants plenty of money, with the estimation of the disc-shaped topping sandwich netting somewhere around $4 billion annually, and given the falling cost, likely to grow, but pizza technology is rarely talked about.
Sure, you have pizza makers to do this at home and impressive ovens, but what when you don’t want to do anything and just want the food to come to you?
For that, you have delivery options, and these will become more and more tech savvy as time goes on, complete with GPS tracking, but Domino’s may be one-upping the game with a replacement for the delivery guy altogether.
It’s name is “DRU”, an acronym that translates to “Domino’s Robotic Unit” with that name basically giving away what the concept is: a robotic delivery guy.
Built with the help of Australian start-up Marathon Robotics, DRU is a four-wheeled vehicle that can keep pizzas hot, drinks cold, and take to the streets travelling from a Domino’s store to someone’s home to complete the order.
“This highlights what can happen when disruptive thinking is fostered,” said Don Meij, CEO and Managing Director of the Domino’s Group, adding that “it turns into a commercially viable and revolutionary product.”
“The DRU prototype is only the first step in our research and development as we continue to develop a range of innovations set to revolutionise the entire pizza ordering experience,” he said.
Surprisingly, the Domino’s remote control delivery drone (which isn’t technically a drone since it doesn’t fly) isn’t actually a joke.
We had to check on that as the release of this concept is so close to April Fools it would be easy to imagine it as some sort of future-friendly April Fools prank, much like the selfie drone that was announced in 2014.
But much like how the flying selfie-taking robot was eventually proven to be something that could be real, the Domino’s delivery robot is also a real thing, made from a military grade robot and built with the expressed intention of delivering pizza with an LED-based smile.
Testing for the product has been happening with Queensland’s Department of Transport, with test deliveries happening in some streets with DRU running in a semi-autonomous mode so that everything being done is tracked in case something goes wrong. The hope, however, is that it will make autonomous vehicles a reality with the delivery guy becoming a full-time fleet of robots.
“With autonomous vehicles opening up possibilities for saving lives, saving time and moving goods more efficiently, we look forward to continuing our work in this field and leading the commercial trials so that our customers can reap the benefits,” said Meij.
Domino’s hasn’t said when the concept will roll out, so don’t expect a robotic delivery of pizza for a while now. Rather, it’s something that showcases a vision of what’s to come, with a timeframe of several years likely for this.
“DRU is cheeky and endearing and we are confident that one day he will become an integral part of the Domino’s family,” said Meij.
“He’s a road to the future and one that we are very excited about exploring further.”