news Domino’s Pizza has announced a new partnership with US-based drone delivery specialist Flirtey to launch what it claims will be the “first commercial drone delivery service in the world”.
The automated aircraft are planned to work alongside Domino’s current delivery fleet and will be integrated into its online ordering and GPS systems, according to the firm.
Domino’s Group CEO and Managing Director, Don Meij, said the company’s growth in recent years had led to a “significant increase” in the number of deliveries it needs to make.
“With the increased number of deliveries we make each year, we were faced with the challenge of ensuring our delivery times continue to decrease and that we strive to offer our customers new and progressive ways of ordering from us,” he said.
Research into different delivery methods led Domino’s to Flirtey, whose success within the airborne delivery space has been “impressive”, the CEO added.
The two companies demonstrated their drone pizza delivery service in Auckland, New Zealand, yesterday – an event attended by the country’s Civil Aviation Authority and its Minister of Transport Simon Bridges.
The demonstration was conducted under Civil Aviation Rules Part 101 and marks a “final step” in Flirtey’s licence approval process, according to a statement from Domino’s.
Once approved, the two firms will launch a CAA-approved trial, making drone deliveries from a selected Domino’s New Zealand store to customer homes later in 2016.
Domino’s indicated that New Zealand had been selected as the launch market since its current regulations allow businesses to make unmanned aircraft opportunities.
“We have invested heavily to provide our stores with different delivery fleet options such as electric scooters, e-bikes and even the Domino’s Robotic Unit (DRU) that we launched earlier this year,” said Meij. “We’ve always said that it doesn’t make sense to have a 2-tonne machine delivering a 2-kilogram order.”
The ‘DRU DRONE’ will be the next stage of the company’s expansion into the Artificial Intelligence space and will allow Domino’s learn about and adopt new technologies, he said.
With current delivery options being restricted by traffic, roads, access and distance, drones potentially offer greater reach for the firm. The results of the trial will help the firm determine where drones would best be implemented further.
“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,” said Meij.
Flirtey CEO Matt Sweeny commented: “New Zealand has the most forward-thinking aviation regulations in the world, and with our new partnership with the leader in pizza delivery worldwide, Domino’s, we are uniquely positioned to bring the same revolutionary drone delivery service to customers globally.
Aside from New Zealand, Domino’s is considering opportunities for drone delivery trials in its six other markets – Australia, Belgium, France, The Netherlands, Japan and Germany.
Image credit: Telstra