The days of having to tip the pizza delivery guy may soon be over. With self-driving technology edging its way into the mainstream, it’s not just taxi drivers, truckers and hotel workers who face an uncertain future.
This could be a future Saturday night scenario if Domino’s Australia gets its way.Domino’s Australia is independent from the U.S. based pizza chain, but pays a royalty to use the name, logo and recipes.
The company has developed a self-driving robot that can deliver hot food and cold drinks.Besides transporting pizza and drinks (in separate hot and cold compartments), the “Domino’s Robotic Unit,” or DRU for short, can also accept payments and chat with customers.
On Thursday, company executives unveiled the robot on stage at a special event in Brisbane.“We improvised, we explored, and we discovered that this audacious idea could actually become a reality,” the company said in a promo video.
The robot uses GPS for navigation and can sense and avoid obstacles as it travels. It is designed to travel on bike paths or footpaths and can reach speeds of 12 mph. It’s not clear how far the robot will travel to deliver a pizza.
A hidden locked compartment pops up to reveal hot and cold chambers that hold a customer’s order. The customer can get at the pizza by using a security code sent to the customer’s phone.
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.
The pizza company teamed up with Aussie startup Marathon Robotics to build the delivery droid, which is just under 3 feet high and contains a heated compartment that can hold up to 10 pizzas.
“We are proud to also be part of this world-first innovation in pizza-delivery technology,” Marathon said in a statement.
Marathon and Domino’s Australia are calling DRU “the world’s first autonomous pizza delivery vehicle,” but it’s just a prototype for now. Don’t expect to see any robots delivering your food just yet.The Domino’s brand is famous for dabbling in new technology fads for public relations and practical purposes.
Three years ago, Domino’s U.K. showed off a concept drone that delivers pizza.In the fall of last year, the U.S.-based company said it would launch 100 custom delivery cars.And in May of 2015, Domino’s started letting people order pizza using emojis on Twitter.
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